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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:36 pm

CHAPTER INDEX

- 1997-2001: AXL'S STALKER
- 1997: SLASH WANTS TO PUT TOGETHER A BAND OF FORMER GN'R MEMBERS
- FORMER BAND MEMBERS' VIEW ON AXL CONTINUING WITH GUNS N' ROSES
- JANUARY 1998: CHRIS WEBER SUES GUNS N' ROSES
- DECEMBER 1997-APRIL 1998: "MORE THAN 1000 REHEARSAL TAPES"
- FEBRUARY 1998: LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - YOUTH?
- FEBRUARY 11, 1998: AXL IS ARRESTED IN PHOENIX
- MARCH 1998: JOSH FREESE JOINS THE BAND
- JOSH BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES
- APRIL 1998: TOMMY STINSON JOINS THE BAND
- TOMMY BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES
- APRIL-DECEMBER 1998: SERIOUSLY RECORDING
- MAY 1, 1998: THE RECORDING AGREEMENT IS AMENDED AND AXL RECEIVES AN ADVANCE TO FINISH CHINESE DEMOCRACY
- SEPTEMBER 1998: LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - SEAN BEAVAN
- 1998- : IZZY, AFTER GUNS N' ROSES
- OCTOBER 1998: 'THIS I LOVE' CONSIDERED FOR THE SOUNDTRACK TO 'WHAT DREAMS MAY COME'
- OCTOBER 27, 1998: 'WELCOME TO THE VIDOES' IS RELEASED
- DECEMBER 10, 1998: GEFFEN RECORDS IS MERGED WITH INTERCSOPE
- JANUARY 1999: SLASH, DUFF AND MATT PLAY TOGETHER AT THE SLAMDANCE FESTIVAL
- 1998-1999: PLANNING A LIVE ALBUM
- 1999- : SLASH ON REUNITING WITH AXL IN GUNS N' ROSES
- JANUARY 1999: RUMOURS ABOUT GUNS HEADLINING SUMMER FESTIVALS OF 1999
- JANUARY-AUGUST 1999: WORKING ON NEW MUSIC
- MAY 1999: GUNS N' ROSES ON THE 'HEAVY METAL F.A.K.K. 2' SOUNDTRACK?
- JUNE 25, 1999: A NEW VERSION OF 'SWEET CHILD' IS FEATURED IN THE 'BIG DADDY' MOVIE
- AUGUST 1999: ROBIN LEAVES THE BAND
- REPLACING ROBIN
- AUGUST-OCTOBER 1999: WORKING ON NEW MUSIC
- NOVEMBER 2, 1999: 'END OF DAYS' SOUNDTRACK WITH 'OH MY GOD'
- NOVEMBER 1999: AXL REEMERGES
- 1999-2000: GARY SUNSHINE, BILLY HOWERDEL AND SEAN PADEN
- NOVEMBER 23, 1999: 'LIVE ERA '87-'93' IS RELEASED
- 1996- : SLASH AFTER GUNS N' ROSES; VARIOUS PROJECTS, DRUGS AND BOOZE


Last edited by Soulmonster on Wed Feb 03, 2021 6:17 pm; edited 11 times in total
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:36 pm

1997-2001
AXL'S STALKER


In November 1997, 39-year Karen Jane McNeil who had been stalking Axl, was sentenced to jail for one year for violating a 1997 court order to stay 300 yards away from Axl's Malibu home [People Magazine, November 29, 1997; MTV News, May 31, 2000]. She had attempted to enter Axl's house on May 16, 1997 [People Magazine, November 29, 1997].

Then, three years later, on May 16, 2000, McNeil visited Axl's home again and was arrested [NME, May 18, 2000]. After discovering that McNeil was trying to enter his property, at around 8 pm, Axl called for the police who came and arrested her outside of his property [NME, May 18, 2000; The Californian, May 18, 2000]. Deputy Boris Nikolof, of LA Country Sheriff Department, confirmed that McNeil was a suspect in several prior stalking cases involving Axl [NME, May 18, 2000].

McNeil's trial was set for June 19, 2000 [MTV News, May 31, 2000]. At the trial, Beta Lebeis would testify that McNeil had visited Axl's property at least six times in the past four years [AP/Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 20, 2000]. It would also be revealed that once she had followed a gardener through the gate and found Axl playing guitar in the kitchen [The Californian, June 21, 2000]. McNeil had told authorities that she believed she was Axl's wife and that they could communicate telepathically [The Californian, June 21, 2000].

In December 2000, it would be reported that McNeil would be facing two misdemeanor charges, for violating a court order and contempt of court, after having sent mail to Axl from prison [Launch, December 11, 2000].

Then on January 8, 2001, McNeil was again arrested for outside Axl's house [Launch, January 10, 2001].

In mid-July Fernando Lebeis would discuss McNeil:

She's a person who needs help. Once she followed the maid and got into the house. She's scary, she thinks Axl communicates with her through letters and, go figure, she thinks he has some love relationship with my mom, which is not ture. But she thinks that if it weren't for my mom, Axl would marry her.
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:36 pm

1997
SLASH WANTS TO PUT TOGETHER A BAND OF FORMER GN'R MEMBERS


As described in a previous chapter, various band members had played and/or written music with Izzy in 1995-1996, this continued in 1997.

In April it would be rumoured that Izzy had written music with Axl [MTV, April 18, 1997]. The same month Slash would talk about working with Izzy while in Spain (where Slash went to partake in a music video for "Obsession" [The Index Journal, March 26, 1997]), and that he had then involved Duff and Matt. Duff was still in Guns N' Roses at the time, but it would be around the time Matt was leaving the band.

The day before last, me and Izzy worked on two new songs in Spain. We came back with Duff and then got Matt to come in.


In late 1997 it was rumoured that Slash wanted to put together a band of former GN'R members [MTV News, September 29, 1997]. The rumour got wings earlier in September when Slash and Steven joined Gilby's band on stage at Billboard Live in Hollywood for one song [MTV News, September 29, 1997].

In an interview published in December 1997, Slash would say he had been working with both Izzy and Duff recently [Fuzz Magazine, December 1997].
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:37 pm

FORMER BAND MEMBERS' VIEW ON AXL CONTINUING WITH GUNS N' ROSES


I'm sure whatever [Axl] ends up doing will be brilliant. But it won't sound like what I would consider a fucking hard rock band that's all gritty and shit. But, you know, what do I know? I could be wrong.

[Axl] basically worked me out of the band and Slash out of the band, and now Duff and Matt have left. He wants it to be his band. We wanted a band where we play together.

So I left Axl to do whatever, and he’s still doing it. The rest of us quit, so that’s that. You have to ask him about what the future of the Guns N’ Roses thing is.

So now it’s Axl by himself. He's got a whole new band together. They’re going to do a record. It'll say ‘Guns ‘N Roses’ but it won’t be Guns N’ Roses.

Oh Axl owns everything, it’s his band now, why not… If only he’d release a record, maybe he’ll release a record, but we haven’t heard anything... Maybe one day he won’t have any more money and he’ll have to do something…
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

What’s left of the band has nothing to do with what we had created. I even think what’s left is not Guns N’ Roses.

But if I were Axl, in no way would I call that band Guns N’ Roses. The kids know GN’R. No need to explain to you, just listen to the albums we recorded. You can’t argue with that. For me, too much discussion would make the music lose its value. The kids have an idea of what that band is. My reaction? I thought, “This is not cool, it’s not the right thing to do.” But it’s none of my business. If he thinks it’s right.…

But [Axl's] got a problem - too many people around him confusing his mind. To be honest, he probably doesn’t live in the same world as you and me.

I hope Axl won’t feel like I let him down. I was just honest. I didn’t wish to go on that way. I don’t think it’s fair for our fans, and it’s certainly not fair for Slash and myself since we were the founders of this band too and contributed to its identity. But life is unfair, so I’m not gonna waste my time complaining.

Fans will be the real test. The group is likely to get away with it if they can go on a big tour, but I’m not even sure the public will come. When Led Zeppelin reformed without their bassist, John Paul Jones, I didn’t go see them. Page & Plant wasn’t Led Zeppelin. In my opinion, John Paul Jones played as big a role as the others and the band without him was worth nothing. I didn’t go see Aerosmith on tour with Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay [for the album Rock In A Hard Place]. It wasn’t Aerosmith to me.

I mean, it really isn't part of my life anymore so I don't think about it that much. Of course, it was a huge part of my life. I gotta admit, it was a magical time. [speaking softly] We really were an amazing band. The electricity in the room when we rehearsed was incredible. You could feel it! You can't match what we had. I love a lot of different music, and the guys Axl's got playing now are great guys, I know them all, but it's not Guns. Commercially, I think that's where it's going, that's the reason. What a shame. You and I can talk and remember the Beacon gig, or the Ritz gig, and say it was good. It was amazing, but big business rules all. I have to look at it now with that sort of cold eye. That's what it is and that's the way it's going. I've got to move on and I'm happy the way I am. I am so glad I'm not there. Axl's a good guy, but we tried and it just didn't happen. The timing wasn't right.

I want him to release his own record that shows what he really wanted to do. […] Anyway I want him to finish the album. Then I'll listen to it once and each one of us go on our own way. […] he records a different version of "Appetite for destruction". I want to know what the sounds like.

I don't know why he puts so much effort to renew a huge band from the root. That's our own fault why he needed to renew. Destroying the huge band and disappoint millions of fan breaks my heart. Millions of loyal fans were really counting on us. Actually I've met those fans. Destroying those things and he is thinking to release what he has already done before. I have no idea what Axl wants to do as a musician. Because he has nothing new released for many years.

Let me say like this, each of us had responsibility, and each member was one fifth of the band. I think GN'R has to be those five guys. Axl might not think so, and speaking of Steven, it's obvious that he was not thinking like I was. But Axl was counting on Duff, so was Izzy and me. Now I can picture it, but I don't care and want to talk about it. When we get together, we could create best thing, so we don't care the rest. Each part had strong power, so we might scared that one of us leaves the band. There's no way to play with that live [?], because that was the foundation of GN'R. I guess he might not notice that, cause we didn't hang out with him. He started first to insult me, so I did it back.

I don't want to say anything negative about what AXL is doing with new GN'R. He has his own idea and people would take his work for granted. I think he will make killer thing. Because he is brilliant.

There’s a lot of very loyal fans out there that think Guns is not Guns without the original members that started it and so on and so forth, and I can understand that.

I don’t know if I’ll be comfortable watching the other guys play, you know, Sweet Child O’ Mine. I don’t know how that’s gonna come off. But he seems to know what he’s doing. It’s taken him a while, but I hope it works out for him.

I just wish the fucker would get the fuckin’ record out so I could see why he took something so cool and systematically, destroyed it. I want to hear where he was headed, and what he was trying to communicate that none of us in the band could relate to.

If he puts out a record and it is good, he's gonna be alright. He's very scared about this.

But as hard as it is or as hard as it's been for me to get all my shit together on my own, he's (Axl) going through the same thing, because he's the only remaining member of Guns N' Roses left. So my heart goes out to him, because I know what a tough fucking job it is.

Here’s how I feel: I’m dying to hear anything that Axl will release, these songs which more or less accelerated the split of GN’R. I won’t systematically say anything bad or reject something I wasn’t a part of. […]  I really can’t wait to hear what he has written since we split up. That’s his work, he lives for it and doesn’t do anything else. The other day, I met Izzy at my birthday party and asked him: "So, what’s up with him?". Everybody’s asking themselves the same question. (laughs) None of us has really changed over the years. Except Axl, of course....
Hard Rock (France), October 2000; translated from French

Everybody goes, 'Well, why didn't you take a percentage off the name? Or take part of the name, or whatever.' I'm not going to do a Guns N' Roses band without the band. And Axl wanted to do that. So I was like, 'Go ahead, see ya.' I think it's sort of dumb. I think one of the easier ways of looking at it would have been along the lines of what me and Izzy and Duff did. Obviously, we're not all playing together. Put together another name -- it's gonna draw attention based on the success of Guns anyway. If James Hetfield were to do a solo record, we'd all know about it, regardless of what it was called, it's James from Metallica. If Axl had fucking taken on another name, and just split his way and I went mine and so on and so forth, then Guns would have been sort of like, just, safe. Like Guns N' Roses was always there, and everybody just took off to do this that and the other, but the name wasn't tarnished. Now, the name's fucked up.

I don't pay much attention to all that. I know what some of the new stuff sounds like because of Napster … and [the sound] is exactly where he was headed when I left, which is all well and good, and I'm just glad that he's up and running. It's been like six years since I walked out the door. Just the fact that he's out there doing it is good.

I’ll believe it when I see it, but I’d go and see him if I was around.

I just wanted to see what caused the whole band to break up, see what the reason for all of it was, and now I know exactly what it is - because of the direction Axl really, really wanted to go. We could have never have made it. I'd be dead by now if I was still in the studio.

Axl is making the call for whatever his 3 percent of the band is worth. He's making the call these days. My life was just miserable then. I couldn't deal with it. So I just left. So when he wanted to use the name Guns N' Roses I said sure, I didn't want anything to do with it.


Being asked if he is worried that if the new Guns N’ Roses record is ever released - and if it does well commercially - it will validate all of Axl Rose’s musical ideas and kill the possibility for a reunion of the original GNR lineup?

I would love for the new Guns records to be successful, because it would validate the reason we split up. Everyone knows what I’m doing at this point. Izzy (Stradlin) and Duff (McKagan) and Steven (Adler) have slightly lower profiles, but they’re still around. We’re like the bricklayers. We all kept our original personalities and never went off the deep end, so we couldn’t relate to anything Axl was doing.

I’d like Axl to be successful at whatever it is he was trying to direct us toward. At the time, it was (expletive) frustrating, because I’m not the kind of guy who quits anything, but there was nothing I could (expletive) do about it. Leaving was kind of a relief. Now it’s a dead issue. I’m just waiting to hear what it will sound like, because I’m probably a bigger Guns fan than the average person. I still talk to the other guys (from GNR) all the time, except for Axl. With Axl, the only talking we had to do was through our lawyers to clean up old messes.

I think [quitting Guns N' Roses] was a healthy thing. Because at this point, now I sort of know where Axl was headed. And I’m still searching for, trying to protect, the original thing that that band was about, which was very organic and sort of very human. […] And I don’t think I’ll ever change. I don’t think, if I’d stayed in the band, it’d be even very healthy, anyway.

Well, it's obviously not Guns N' Roses. I think all the fans [know that]. It's not even right that he uses the name, because he's the only guy [left]. I think ultimately it's gonna work against him because people are gonna say fuck you, wanker - that's what they'll call him here, right? 'You fucking wanker, that's not Guns N' Roses!' Hopefully, the maniac's good, cos if the music isn't good then he's gonna get the double-whammy...

I don't even know those guys! I think as well that he should have changed the name. People going to probably say:" What's this stuff? This is not Guns!" Of course Axl was the singer, but it was as well four guys with him. It's strange to see him acting like that, but that doesn't really bother me. We will see how it goes. It is gonna be the fans who are gonna have to decide and to say what they think about it. If we are lucky, he will come up with a good album. I will go and buy it, just to see how it is. I know he is creative, intelligent, he is a good singer, but it took him so long to write and record songs. Yes, I will listen to it and send it back to him if it's crap.
Guitar Part (France), June 2001; translated from French

At this point, it's Axl's bag. I think it would've been cooler had he come up with his own name and left Guns alone. So in case we ever do get back together, the name Guns n' Roses wouldn't be tarnished. […] I'm a huge Axl fan - our musical direction just doesn't see eye to eye. In any case, I do want him to do well with what he's doing. I'm focusing on my own career now, and I don't keep up with what's going on with Guns anymore. It's like divorcing your wife - you're not expected to hang around and look at family photos. But I do run into Guns n' Roses fans on the street all the time. And that is what I miss most about Guns - the fans. They are so genuine! I feel disappointed in the sense that we sort of let them down.

[…] I’m still waiting for the [next] Guns N’ Roses record to come out to see what that was. That’ll be a huge relief for me.

What disturbs me about GN'R returning is that Axl's kept the name at all, when it's basically just him left. I hope they're great, I mean that, but it would be better for all concerned if Axl gave the band a new name.

[Being asked if he hates Axl for what he has done to Guns N' Roses]: Well, I don’t know if I hate Axl ‘cause we’ve done so much together, so, no matter what he does that’s the way he is, and I love him so I accept it. It’s easy to say he’s a moron asshole for doing what he did but I also know that if he didn’t do what he did, ‘cause he wanted to do that so bad, that if he didn’t do it, I don’t  think that we could go on to be as great as we can be.  So, yes it sucks, it’s fucked up, but him personally, he would be more of an asshole if he didn’t do this record, he thought Guns N’ Roses was him, instead of the five of us as a band complete. Obviously, it’s not - you know that John, I know that - but, like, he even got rid of Slash just so he could get totally away from Guns! I just hope he can get that out of his system, and we can fuckin’ rock already!

I hope for his (Axl’s) sake, it fuckin’ rocks, but it’s never gonna be Guns N’ Roses until the five of us are back together, and it would be really cool if everyone who checks this site and reads this let it be known that they, the fans, do want to see us back.

Poor guy, he's on his own. He shut himself off, but that's cool. I guess he's gotta do what he's gotta do.

I'm also interested to hear the new Guns record because so much has gone on since this whole thing started - I know he's got a lot to say. Even a lot of his stage performance is fueled by angst. And it's essential to have that sort of soul and energy for the music to come across as genuine; that's an integral part of rock 'n' roll. But if just depends on how far you want to take it. It's like, if you can get it all out of your system in the two hours you're onstage, great - as long as you're onstage [laughs].

It's not Guns. It's not anything that it started off to be… I could give a shit who's playing. It has nothing to do with me.

I just wish [Axl] would get this Guns N' Roses record done so I can see what this turmoil was all about. What was the point? Realistically, you have a situation where it was all centered around one person; you're going, 'What is it you want to do so bad that you forced everybody out like that?' I just want him to do what it is that makes him happy, because he seems so frustrated.

[referring to the new lineup]: Axl and his merry men.
UPI, November 19, 2002; unknown original source

Guns N' Roses played their last gig eleven years ago.


In September 2001 Slash would state he wasn't happy with Axl continuing with 'Guns N' Roses' at all, and that they might legally contest it:

You know, it pisses me off. What I think he should have done is - I mean, when basically everybody in the original band [left and] it’s depleted... It would have been cooler if he left the name Guns N’ Roses alone. And started up something different, got all these guys, did this thing that he wants to do, which inevitably caused the rest of us to quit... But instead he insisted on keeping the name. And what happened was, the guys in the band said, “If we’re not in the band, what do we need the name Guns N’ Roses for?” And so we very easily said, “Yeah, Axl, take the name. Anything, let’s just get out of our hair,” okay? […] But he chose to do it and we allowed him to do it, which at this point I think it’s come up a few times where we might contest that, because it doesn’t seem... […] People are walking around with new Guns N’ Roses jackets not knowing what Guns N’ Roses is (laughs).

That's actually a topic which we're trying to get to the bottom of. Originally, the other guys in the band gave it up. Now that I know a little bit more about this stuff, I'm trying to look for a loophole [to get some control back].


But later he would dispute having implied suggested he might contest the ownership:

You know, all things considered, how did that [the stories] happen? I’m not really that concerned with that. It’s nothing we all get together and talk about. It’s kind of been blown out of proportion. It goes around. I mean, I see Izzy all the time, I talk to Duff all the time, it's not a concern at this point. Some of that Guns name stuff, it might have come from an interview I gave. They tell me I said something to that effect; I’m like: ‘I did?'


Dizzy would later discuss how the transformation to the touring lineup of 2002 had been a gradual process and that it was still Guns N' Roses:

To me, having been there through the entire thing, it wasn't like Axl said, 'OK, everyone, you're gone and here's a new band and we're Guns N' Roses.' Everyone else from the old band chose to quit, and they quit one at a time, and they were replaced by someone else, so to me it still is Guns N' Roses.


In late 2002, after the disastrous Guns N' Roses tour, Duff would comment:

In all of our best interests, I always thought he should have returned as the Axl Rose Band or something like that. But there are things you just can't change, and so you move on.


Duff is here referring to the fact that he and Slash were still partners in Guns N' Roses Inc. and that they were afraid of damage to the brand name.

As Velvet Revolver was coming together the guys would receive more questions about Guns N' Roses:

It's not Guns N' Roses, you know? [Axl] should have probably done his own solo record. In saying that, also, I do wish him the best. We went through a lot together and I still have a lot of love for the guy. It's a shame that there's a...he's doing a lot to...there's a lot of bitterness... [...] But he's doing what he thinks is the right thing. You can't fault a guy for that, but it's not Guns N' Roses.

Does Paul McCartney go around calling himself 'the Beatles'? [Duff answers no]. There you go.

We got the shitty end of the deal, me, Slash and Duff. We got kinda kicked to the curb, you know? Not that we have anything to prove, but we do.

You know what, man? I’m just waiting for him to come out and do his record. It’ll just be interesting to see what we fucking tore that whole thing apart for. Axl definitely had his own agenda … and still does. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m having a real good time doing what I’m doing. I just want him to be happy too.

And now, Axl is doing his own thing. That's cool. I mean: bitterness has nothing to do with it. Guns N' Roses really ended already in 1991/92.

A lot of people think it’s almost sacrilege, you know, to do it that way, but he doesn’t give a fuck.

Even today, at least for the most part, I do not care. But I think he should have changed the name when he realized that all the other members dropped out. That way, it would have been pristine if something happened in the future.
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

Guns N' Roses was a band, much like this band. The band wrote the music as a whole, and we fed off of each other. Once all the key guys were gone, [Axl's] in deep s---. And I guess his record company's taking quite a beating too.

If I was behind the scenes in his camp way back [when everyone else quit], I would have had him change the name, and not had the big moniker weighing him down. He would have had the freedom to make the record he wanted to make.


Duff being asked if he would go see Guns N' Roses if they had a show that day:

Well… [Pauses]… Noooo… I doubt it. No. I – I just, you know, really… especially once after I left and started going to school, I really put it all behind me. I haven’t really thought about it at all until I started doing all this press and been asked about it. So, it’s been kinda put in front of me. And, you know, I have a healthy past with Axl [Rose]. But Guns ‘N Roses was Guns ‘N Roses when it was Guns ‘N Roses. If that makes any sense to you -- does that make any sense to you? [...] Okay… and now, it’s -- from what I understand -- it’s… an ever-evolving line-up. And… it’s, you know, it’s Axl’s… he owns the name. And that’s… that’s where you get the Guns ‘N Roses thing. And that’s about… that’s kinda where it stops, too. You know? For me, at least. I wouldn’t go see it, myself. I hold nothing against Axl, it’s just… I have no interest in seeing it. You know? If you can’t do a record in a year or so…you’re working too hard on something, or something’s not there. Something’s missing. Unless, you know… watch it be just amazing. It should be after 9 years or something. It damn well better be!


And on the absence of Chinese Democracy:

You know, we don’t pay that much attention to it. Slash and I did this promotion tour where we went to Japan and Europe in March and that’s when we started to hear about Axl’s record. That’s the first I’d heard about it. I was going to school and then I moved down here and we just weren’t around anybody then. I guess, with that, I just kind of left it behind when I walked away.

So we went out on this press tour and people asked us, ‘What do you think about Chinese Democracy not coming out?’ We were like, ‘It’s not coming out?!’ (laughs)

Well, it might, but we know how Axl works and nothing’s surprising to us. I hope that guy finds happiness one day but right now, we’re fully focused on (Velvet Revolver).

Guns N' Roses was at one point a great band and I feel bad that it's turning into a bad joke now. I mean, how long has that record been postponed now? How much money has that whole adventure cost?

[Commenting on Axl saying the album will soon be released:] He has probably said that since -93. What does he have - two songs with vocals?
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

I didn't even know he (Axl) had a band anymore. He had a great band, those guys are amazing players, still couldn't play those songs the way they should sound. You can't go wrong having great musicians, they're gonna sound great. If that album [=Chinese Democracy] was gonna come out, I think it would have come out already.

There is no new Guns N’ Roses. There is just Axl Rose. He is just using the name because it is successful. I have my own band, Slash has his, Duff had his and Izzy has his. They all called it something different. Axl is just using the name.

It's not Guns N' Roses!

And I gotta tell you, honestly, [watching the new Guns N' Roses] made me feel really bad. What happened there was that he took a very important part of my life and turned it into something meaningless. It’s great to be in position to say you played guitar in Guns N’ Roses. Now I don’t even know how many guitarists have come and gone in Guns N’ Roses. [...] But I’m sure that the new album will be amazing, musically. Axl is very talented as a musician. I’m sure it will be a very good album.



DISCUSSING THE NEW GUNS N' ROSES MUSIC


I heard some of the stuff off Napster, and of course the song (Oh My God) from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Knowing Axl for as long as I have and knowing how brilliant he is, I cringe at some of it. But I’m probably the worst critic. I can still hear that brilliance at times. I’m proud of him. (laughs) And I could have played on that record.

I've heard a couple of things on Napster. […] From the little I heard, I don't believe I can tell [if Axl has taken the new music in the direction he wanted]. I haven't heard enough of the album to get a good representation of the whole record. But it sounded like more in the direction that he described to me. I'm one of the biggest fans of Guns n' Roses. It'll be interesting.

I haven’t heard them yet. I know they played at Rock In Rio, but the only think I saw about them was when I went into a record store and they were playing a video with someone talking, and I recognized Axl. I asked a guy, “What’s that?”. He told me: “It’s Guns N’ Roses in Rio”. He was sort of doing a speech, but I don’t even know what he said. I would like to hear them.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

[Being asked why the public still care about Axl]: They [the public] feel bad for him, they feel sorry for him like I do. I mean, I love Axl. It's just a shame that he can't, you know, get his head out of his tuckus long enough to realize it was the five of us who made him a star in the first place... He won't put his record out either, cause it'll flop, it'll suck, and it does suck, and then he'll have nothing to back up on.

I don’t know any more than you do. There’s only a couple of songs with vocals on it–I know that for a fact. But it will come out one of these days.

You would probably know better than I do. [...] the last thing I have time to do is get on the Internet to get the down-low on Chinese Democracy.

You know what? You probably know more than I would. I really have no idea. I've been so busy after leaving Guns N' Roses. I went up to Seattle, went to school and started having babies. And then this band popped up. [...] But I wish they would get it out after all this time.. [...] you know, spontaneity and rock 'n' roll go together. And chemistry. It comes back to the old adage: If it takes you more than five minutes to write a song, then just scrap it. I don't know. Axl Rose is a very, very fickle guy, and he changes his mind all the time. So who knows?

I’m pretty sure what they're doing now won’t sound like the Guns N’ Roses I knew. But despite all the sadness and heartache that Axl put me through, good luck to him. I still love him. It was all a decade ago, I’m over it.

Axl ruins it not for himself and for the rest of us (Slash, Izzy, Duff, Steven) but he ruins it for the fans. [...] If he puts it out he thinks he'll sell 20 million copies. Well, maybe he's lucky if he goes gold. There's no hits on it, it's crap.

It's not really my cup of tea.. and that's not to say it's bad, its just not my style. Axl is trying to go into a direction of like...shit, old Guns N Roses, mixed with Nine Inch Nails, mixed with the fuckin New York Philharmonic, mixed with Elton John. He's just really conflicted, one minute he wants to do some huge ass 10 minute epic song and the next he wants to do It's So Easy.

I know [Axl] recorded a couple of songs during several years, until someone from the company came in and thought they sucked.

[Being asked if he expects Chinese Democracy to be released in 2006]: I certainly hope so because I’m so over talking about it. This anticipation is ridiculous. Just get the fuckin’ thing out! Every interview I do I get two or three questions about it and I haven’t even been in that goddamn rehearsal room in 10 years. [...] I’ve always said [Axl]'s an incredibly talented guy. The things he writes about blows my mind. The music probably isn't going to have the same angst that it had, but there’s probably gonna be some really great stuff on there.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:37 pm

JANUARY 1998
CHRIS WEBER SUES GUNS N' ROSES


In February 1998 it would be reported that Chris Weber, from Hollywood Rose, was suing Guns N' Roses over royalty disputes for the songs 'Shadow of Your Love' and 'Back Off Bitch.' [Los Angeles Daily News]. According to the suit, Weber had been part of writing these songs and were owed royalties [Los Angeles Daily News]. It would also be reported that Weber had launched court action in 1991 involving three songs that he was credited on, but that these records were sealed [MTV News February 6, 1998].

Weber would refer to the suits briefly in 2004:

I had some things that I had to sort out with royalties and records that… brings me in connection with [my old friends].


In 1998, Weber was allegedly thinking about starting Hollywood Rose again [MTV News February 6, 1998]. It would also be said that he had considered releasing Hollywood Rose songs, but that Axl had blocked this [MTV News February 6, 1998].

Doug Goldstein would comment on the suit:

I'm not overly concerned about it. Basically, it's a nuisance lawsuit. I checked with all the clients I represent, and they vehemently deny his (Weber's) writing those two songs. In fact, one of the songs was written before he was even in the band, according to Axl.


Gregory Ehrlich, Weber's publisher, would claim there was video evidence from 1983 of Weber and Axl performing one of the songs together, to which Goldstein would remark:

I've been hearing about that video for four years and have yet to see it.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:37 pm

DECEMBER 1997-APRIL 1998
"MORE THAN 1000 REHEARSAL TAPES"


In early 1998, the band moved to Rumbo Recorders in San Fernando Valley [The New York Times, March 6, 2005].

In February 1998, when asked about what the current lineup was, Bryn Bridenthal would only mention Axl and Dizzy, and not confirm that either Matt or Duff was out [MTV News, February 11, 1998]. But then, just some days later, Doug Goldstein would confirm that the lineup was comprised of Axl, Dizzy, Paul and Robin [Rolling Stone, February 20, 1998]. Goldstein would also shed some light on their work process:

They each take a CD home, listen for cool parts, pick them out, and that's how they build songs.


He would also confirm they had recorded more than 300 hours of material [Rolling Stone, February 20, 1998].

In April though, it would be claimed by MTV that they hadn't finished any songs, and that they didn't intend to start recording until the summer [MTV News, April 21, 1998]. That no songs were recorded seems to be contradicted by Moby who knew the project well:

Axl had finished several songs that sounded like rock music with sampling technology and were really good.

They wanted to make a record that involved more contemporary production techniques. At one point Rose told me how much he liked the DJ Shadow record.


A spokesperson said that it was highly unlikely a record would be out this year [MTV News, April 21, 1998]. At the same time, according to Spin, a source would claim that the band has amassed more than 1,000 rehearsal tapes [Spin, April 1998].

It's entirely possible that Guns N' Roses will deliver an album by the end of the year. But I've been saying that for the past three years.


Talking about the slow progress:

Axl is concerned about being relevant.

Axl is really worried about what's gone on musically in the '90s. Most of Use Your Illusion I & II was written while we were on tour. But then when it came time for this record, he had too much time on his hands and started overanalyzing everything and studying bands he heard on the radio and saw on MTV. Truth is, if kids want to buy a techno record, they're not going to buy Guns N’ Roses.

Axl isn’t going to force an album because of commercial pressures. He’ll keep trying different people and things, and when it’s right—however long it takes—he'll be ready to put out a record.

Slash and Axl really thought they could work out their differences. They tried for a couple of years to see if they could agree creatively. Once it became clear that they couldn't, we then had to assemble people who could.


By April is was claimed Geffen had spent "well over $1,000,000" on the project and that the ever-changing release date had "become a running joke at the label" [Spin, April 1998].


STUDIO ENGINEER DAVE DOMINGUEZ REMINISCES


One of the studio engineers involved in the making of Chinese Democracy was Dave Dominguez. Dominguez started his work with the band in January 1998 [warmaudio.com, January 25, 2021].

I was a staff engineer at Rumbo Recorders and was about to quit or lose me mind I thought it was time to get what clients I had (practically none) and get out. The manager came to me and said Guns was coming in to do their next record and they had no producer or engineer and that needed someone with experience so I said "yes" and she also said they would be writing for two months and then recording for two months and they would be it (haha) seven months later. I bailed on good terms with Axl and the band but not with the studio. During that time they interviewed quite a few producers and I had to give them a technical rundown of what was going on which was pretty elaborate and insane.


Dominguez would also talk about some of the songs they worked on. Oklahoma was one of them:

"Oklahoma" was pretty much written by the time they got to the studio [=in 1998] Axl wrote that with inspiration from the Oklahoma City bombing (more as a tribute to those who died if I'm not mistaken)


Another song was Ides of March:

Most of the songs had working titles but I know that "Oklahoma" and "Ides of March" were songs that were almost complete.
Sp1at from unknown date but before February 2004; mentioned on htgth.com

"Ides of March" was a working title of one of the songs that came from a loop name that Dizzy came up with I think they kept the name but it's been years so I'm sure everything has changed by now.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:38 pm

FEBRUARY 1998
LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - YOUTH?


In February 1998, it would be reported that fors producers were considered for the project: Scott Litt (R.E.M.), Steve Lillywhite (U2), Mark Bell (Bjork) and Youth (real name Martin Glover, from the Verve) [Rolling Stone, February 20, 1998]. In February 1998, Bryn Bridenthal would also confirm that Axl was meeting with different producers [MTV News, February 11, 1998]. In April it was reported that Youth had been selected, but again no one would officially confirm this [MTV News, April 21, 1998].

I went to his house and we started writing songs, strumming guitars in the kitchen. That was a major breakthrough because it got him singing again which he hadn't done for a long time.


Youth would later talk about the band rehearsing the old songs for a Greatest Hits package:

When I walked into the studio, they were rehearsing the old songs to record for a greatest hits package. They were gonna do them exactly the same way. So my first project was to sort of dissuade Axl from doing that.


Interestingly, Axl would later confirm that the band did re-record almost the entire Appetite for Destruction, but the songs that would be featured on the band's upcoming Greatest Hits record would not contain re-recorded music.

By April 1997, rumours would spread that Youth had indeed been chosen as the producer for the album [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998], but according to other sources, things just "didn't work out" [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998]. In September, it was again reported that Youth would indeed be producing the music that would come out of the planned September recordings [Muzic.com, September 3, 1998].

Doug Goldstein would later shed light on Youth and GN'R:

Axl tried out Youth; he was great, he just wasn't the guy.


Youth would give his account of the story:

So I said, 'Next time I come over I want to record the songs', and he said, 'You're pushing me too fast'. I had to pull out. Sadly, because I think he's one of the last great showmen of rock, incredibly committed and passionate.

[Axl] kind of pulled out, said ‘I’m not ready.’ He was quite isolated. There weren’t very many people I think he could trust. It was very difficult to penetrate the walls he’d built up.

I got him singing. He hadn’t been singing for around 18 months. I think the record had turned into a real labour. He was stuck and didn’t know how to proceed, so he was avoiding it.

He had some brilliant ideas, but they really were just sketches. He really wanted to leave the past behind and make a hugely ambitious album, like Led Zepellin’s Physical Grafitti crossed with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.


And give his opinion on why the record hadn't been released by July 2001:

Partly perfectionism. But the psychology is that if you have something out you get judged so you want to stay in a place where you don't get judged. Which means it is a good sign that now he's playing live.


Later it would be reported that Youth did "four or five" spells with Guns N' Roses [Q, July 2001].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:38 pm

FEBRUARY 11, 1998
AXL IS ARRESTED IN PHOENIX


In the evening of February 10, 1998, Axl was arrested at Phoenix airport for "disorderly conduct" [MTV News, February 11, 1998; Arizona Republic, February 12, 1998].

Rose had been celebrating his 36-year birthday in Phoenix with friends, and got in a fight with security screeners at the security gate at the airport [MTV News, February 11, 1998; Arizona Republic, February 12, 1998]. According to a spokesperson for Axl, "a bubble-wrapped glass gift" that had been in his carry-on baggage, "began to topple to the floor" and when Axl "grabbed the falling gift" he was told to stop which resulted in a squabble [MTV News, February 11, 1998].


Axl mug shot
February 11, 1998


According to sergeant Mike Torres of the Phoenix Police Department, had refused to let airport personnel inspect his carry-on bag, and began shouting obscenities which resulted in his arrest  [MTV News, February 11, 1998].  More specifically, as Axl was told the carry-on had to be hand-checked, he allegedly started swearing, shaking his fist in the person's face, and yelling, "I’ll punch your lights out right here and right now!" [Police Report, February 10, 1998; Arizona Republic, February 12, 1998]. He also allegedly said, "I don’t give a fuck who you are. You are all little people on a power trip"  [Police Report, February 10, 1998; Arizona Republic, February 12, 1998]. When he was told that if he didn't stop his behaviour he would go to jail, Axl allegedly replied, "I don't give a fuck. Just put me in fuckin' jail. You are all a bunch of little people on a power trip!" [Police Report, February 10, 1998].

Bryn Bridenthal would comment on the incident:

[Axl] just wanted them to be careful and he just wanted to protect it. He had just a normal, everyday reaction to it.

His response wasn’t a particularly rock-and-roll response or an unusual reaction.


As the result of the commotion, Axl was charged with one case of a class one misdemeanor, which would merit either a $2,500 fine and/or six months in jail [MTV News, February 11, 1998]. Axl would have to go before the court in ten days for sentencing [MTV News, February 11, 1998]. Court date was later set to January 8, 1999 [MTV News, December 3, 1998] and then postponed to February 5 [MTV News, January 8, 1999]. At the court hearing Axl phoned in a plea of no contest and received a $500 fine and time served (the 2-3 hours Axl spent in jail when arrested) [MTV News, February 19, 1999]. According to sources, Axl decided not to fight the charges to be able to continue the work on the record [MTV News, February 19, 1999].
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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:38 pm

MARCH 1998
JOSH FREESE JOINS THE BAND


In March 1998 it would be reported that Josh Freese had started rehearsing with the band [MTV News, March 5, 1998]. Band management would not confirm this rumour though, saying, "there's nothing we can confirm at this time, hopefully soon, but not now" [MTV News, March 5, 1998].

Josh would describe how it happened:

The music business can be a very small community sometimes. I guess my name came up. I thought it was different than a lot of projects I've been involved with. It turned a lot of heads with my friends.

When I got the call to go down and audition for Guns N’ Roses, I was at a rehearsal place in LA doing pre-production for a record, and I had a message on my machine from their manager and thought, “What?!” I called him back, and he asked me if I wanted to audition. But it seemed too big, like a bigger-than-life band. I had a lot of things going on at the time, so I said, “I don’t know, it seems very time-consuming. I’ve got to think about it. I don’t want to waste your time if it isn’t something I really want to do.” He was cool about that, but he was persistent. A couple of days later he said, “Just come down and meet with Axl and the guys.”

I went down and auditioned for them, sick as a dog—I had eaten some bad seafood in London right before that, gotten on a plane, and auditioned that night. I was vomiting all the way to the rehearsal. Axl was totally cool, though, and very open-minded about music. He said, “I heard you played with Devo. I really liked Devo—and when I liked Devo, you got beat up for liking Devo.” I thought, “This guy is really cool.” It became obvious that he really listens to music. He was talking about artists all over the map.

They invited me down a second time, and from the beginning Axl was so nice and we got along and had a good time. He was completely open. So I decided to join.


Despite this, a "source close to Josh" would imply that Josh was just in it for the money:

They're paying Josh an obscene amount of money for two days of rehearsal a week. [But] Josh has kind of an 'I don't give a fuck' attitude about it.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:39 pm

JOSH BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES


I was infatuated with music and drums at an early age. I come from a pretty musical family. My grandparents on my dad’s side both taught music in school, my mom is a classical pianist, and my dad, who is mainly a tuba player, was conducting the band down at Disney World in Florida when I was born. Thank God he was transferred to the California Disneyland when I was six months old.

There was so much music in my house. My earliest memories are watching my dad conduct the big band and jazz band at Disneyland. I remember getting a trumpet for Christmas when I was six, and I played that for about four months. But my dad had an endorsement with the brass department at Yamaha, and somehow he also had a drumset from them, which was up in our attic. It was a Yamaha Recording series kit, which is a pretty extravagant first kit.

The earliest pictures of me playing were when I was seven or eight, standing, with huge ’70s headphones on, with a snare drum and a cymbal, Stray Cats’ Slim Jim Phantom style. That might have lasted about a month before I got the nerve to ask my parents if we could bring the whole drumset down from the attic.

I remember my dad sat down behind the drumset and played the simplest 4/4 beat, and it sounded like a record to me. He told me to try it, and I was able to do it right away. I started playing to Van Halen, Queen, and Devo records. It’s ironic that I’ve gotten to play with Devo; it’s such a dream come true to play with people I’ve admired since I was in first grade.

I never really noticed that music and drumming was this big serious thing for me. But my mom remembers how I’d get up at 7:00 a.m. to call Zildjian on the East Coast before I went to school. I’d be talking shop with [veteran cymbal expert and then-artist relations manager] Lenny DiMuzio when I was in the fifth grade. I just think I had a lot of determination then [...]


As young, his most important drum teachers were Ron Romano and Ray Burns, and he also took lessons from Terry Bozzio and Gregg Bissonette [Modern Drummer, March 2003].

[Burns] was a great teacher. I’ve tried to teach, and I suck at it. People ask me all the time to give them lessons, and I tell them not to waste their time. Some guys are great teachers and some guys aren’t.


Josh would also get tutoring from Vinnie Colaiuta, whom Josh met at a NAMM show at the age of 11:

I’d sit behind Vinnie and I’d leave being half-inspired and half-discouraged. He was phenomenal, and then he’d be cool enough the next day when I’d call him at 9:00 a.m. to answer my stupid questions, like, ‘What kind of bass drum beater were you using last night?’ He had probably gotten to bed two hours before, but he was always cool to me.


While playing on a Simmons electronic drum kit at NAMM, Josh was discovered by Simmons and asked him to represent their company to the youth market [Modern Drummer, March 2003], and he spent the next three years as the electronic drummer beside the set drummer in a Disneyland band called Polo [Modern Drummer, March 2003].

Imagine five dumb young white kids in Orange County California, Star Search Champions in Disneyland. Hence the horrible name Polo. I was about twelve or thirteen, and didn't know any better. I don't want anyone to think that I was an adult, playing Huey Lewis and the News covers at Disneyland.


Josh's interest in the band Devo was substantial:

I grew up a huge Devo fan, but by the time I was eleven or twelve, I had read many articles in Modern Drummer with Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Chad Wackerman, where they were saying, ‘Playing with Frank Zappa was so challenging... playing with Frank was so this... playing with Frank was so that....’ So I started going out and buying Zappa records, and I became infatuated with that music at a pretty young and impressionable age.


His interest in Frank Zappa led him to become the drummer in a trio with Dweezil, nephew of Zappa [Modern Drummer, March 2003]. While playing with Dweezil, Josh befriended Zappa's bassist Scott Tunis, who turned Josh onto punk rock [Modern Drummer, March 2003].

Scott started me on the road of appreciating simple, soulful music and taught me that it doesn’t have to be tricky—it doesn’t have to be a circus act—to have validity. He taught me about the beauty of The Ramones and how important they are to popular music. I was thinking, “Really? The Ramones? How could this guy who can sightread all this crazy music tell me how important Dee Dee Ramone is as a bass player?” To this day, I carry that thought with me.

I would rather see someone play a Ramones’ song spot-on, with heart and soul, than play some lick they learned out of a book, with all the chops in the world. Chops can be fantastic to watch, but they don’t make the whole world tap their foot, cry, or get excited. Chops can make your jaw drop and your eyes widen for a few seconds, but the feeling in the heart is different.

Scott taught me the importance of everyone from Midnight Oil and The Butthole Surfers to The Sex Pistols. I had automatically discredited them in my mind because I was listening to jazz and fusion. But going through phases is part of the fun of being a teenager. One day you decide, “That band sucks, this is where it’s at.” And the next you decide, “That’s not where it’s at, this is.” All the phases bring you finally to a point where you’re not afraid to admit that you really liked this particular Tom Petty record. At nineteen or twenty, I wouldn’t have told my punk-rock friends that. But Tom Petty, and people like Jim Keltner, Jeff Porcaro, Charlie Drayton, and Steve Jordan, are classic examples of how amazing playing can be without it being a circus act.

Scott Tunis taught me the beauty of a guy playing 4/4, laying it down to the point where nothing else matters. That’s when you shake your head half in disgust because it’s so good and half in awe because you can’t believe you’re getting excited about someone playing a simple midtempo 4/4. That’s not supposed to be hard, but to make it feel that way is hard.


This lead to Infectious Grooves and Suicidal Tendencies, as well as a growing career as session drummer for punk bands [Modern Drummer, March 2003].

Josh then hooked up with Paul Westerberg and The Vandals [Modern Drummer, March 2003], and this was about when he was 16 [Cosmik Debris Magazine, November 2000]. Albums by Juliana Hatfield, Meredith Brooks, Chris Cornell, Tracy Bonham, Indigo Girls, and Puddle Of Mudd followed [Modern Drummer, March 2003].


The Vandals, Josh to the far left.


Talking about his vast experience as a session drummer:

I’ll get a call from a producer who says, ‘Josh, I need you in the studio next week. The band is back wherever they live. We have all the Pro Tools files open—it will be you, me, the computer, and an engineer. You have to redo three or four songs.’ So I’ll go in, knock out the tunes, and a lot of times I don’t even hear the finished record. Sometimes it ends up being a hit without my even realizing it.

I’ve tracked down, become friends with, and gotten to work alongside almost every one of my heroes. A lot of those people don’t make a ton of money, but as a fan, a kid who was always more into the underdog, that’s the music I fell in love with. Before there was alternative music, I was into it. I’ve gotten to work with people who I consider to be true artists, and to me that’s way more rewarding than the big money. I’ve played with some big-money people, too, but that’s never the motivation.


And being replaced himself:

I often get called to play on a track or two of a band where I don’t get credited, or sometimes it might say “additional percussion by Josh Freese,” but I really played on the three singles on the record. Sometimes it’s a band without a drummer, or they’ve fired the drummer in the middle of the record. I’ve been in every situation—the drummer is there and he’s pissed off, or the drummer is there and he’s excited that I’m going to help out, or the drummer isn’t there and the rest of the band is trying to keep him away from the studio.... It’s always some sort of weird political thing, and it’s egos, friendships, and business.

I remember the first time I was replaced in the studio, about ten years ago, and it was done behind my back. I don’t feel bad about it now, because not only have I since replaced guys who I think are great, but at the time I was only twenty. I recorded a track, but the producer didn’t have a check for me and told me to stop back whenever I was in the neighborhood to pick it up. This was someone I worked with all the time. So I pulled up to the studio the next day and heard live drums through the wall and thought, “Oh, he must be producing a band.” I walked in and started chatting with the secretary and suddenly realized I recognized the song— it was the same one I had recorded. I didn’t say anything and didn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. I left feeling kind of sad, with my ego bruised, but it was probably good for me. I probably thought I was hot stuff at the time, so it was good for me. Now I realize it doesn’t mean that you didn’t do a good job.

I called that producer a couple of days later and said I didn’t want to put him on the spot, but I wanted to know what I did wrong. He explained that the artist felt the drums were tuned way too floppy and he wanted something a little more pop with a higher-pitched snare, and a little lighter approach. I still felt awful, but right around that same time—within a week— there was an article in Modern Drummer called “Getting Replaced In The Studio” with stories from guys like Jeff Porcaro, Jim Keltner, Denny Fongheiser, and Kenny Aronoff, and it made me feel better.


He then got to play with his childhood heroes, Devo:

Devo for me was like playing with Led Zeppelin or the Beatles. The first record I ever got in my life was a Devo record. Their guitarist produced a Vandals record, and when they kinda reformed, jumping on stage at Lollapalooza, they asked me to drum cuz they had a falling out with the original drummer. It was a blast playing the songs I grew up listening to. They're such bizarre, eccentric, intelligent weirdos.



Josh playing with Devo.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:39 pm

APRIL 1998
TOMMY STINSON JOINS THE BAND


The first rumours that Tommy Stinson would be replacing Duff came in April 1998 [MTV News, April 21, 1998; St. Cloud April 30, 1998].

Initially it would be reported that Tommy had been jamming with Guns N' Roses for three night a week for the last three weeks, but that he was not a permanent member of Guns N' Roses [Star Tribune, April 28, 1998]. Peter Jesperson, the head of Tommy's band Perfect's label Medium Cool Records:

This is not a permanent thing. Tommy made it clear from the start that he's got his own band. If Tommy were available, maybe they’d make an offer. It’s like someone asking him to do a session. […] He’s a musician. One day, he rehearsed with Perfect from 4 to 7 and with Guns ’N’ Roses from 10 to 3:30 in the morning. Tommy is working; it’s a joy to see.


In August it would be reported that Tommy was not officially part of Guns N' Roses [City Pages, August 5, 1998].

Later Tommy would say he was offered the job the day after he auditioned [Quad City Times, November 14, 2002].

I was doing a session with a friend of mine who played drums for GN'R at the time, Josh Freese. He was joking about them needing a new bass player. I laughed and said I'd play bass. The next day, they called. I learned about four or five songs. A day or so after the audition, they called and said, 'If you want it, you're in.' And I took it.

I wasn't much of a GN'R fan . . . when I was making [Replacements] records. We were a different breed. But you couldn't help but hear the GN'R stuff on the radio and on MTV every 10 minutes because it was the flavor of the day.

Josh Freese was playing drums for him when he and I did a session together in LA. And he said, 'Ya know we need a bass player...' because Duff (McKagan) had just quit. I learned a couple of songs, they called me up the next day and asked if I wanted to do it and I said 'Alright, cool.'

I wasn’t really a fan [of Guns N' Roses]. It wasn’t my circle. By the time the Mats ended, you have to realize that I’d gone through my phases of listening to punk rock and all of that, and I’d already done a Big Star phase. At the end, I was more into figuring out what I was about and kind of listening to more pop music, like the Waterboys—things that were sort of deeper. Guns N’ Roses wasn’t that genre; it was the other end of the dial. No bones about it—Axl and I have talked about it, and he was no more of a Replacements fan than I was a Guns N’ Roses fan. I couldn’t help but know about them, of course, but to say it wasn’t my thing is what I can truthfully say about it. Axl said he had gone to a couple of Mats shows in different places and didn’t really have much of an opinion about it, I don’t think. It didn’t really hit him either way.


An anonymous source "close to" of Tommy would imply he joined Guns N' Roses because he was broke:

[Tommy] hadn't worked in a long time. Tommy didn't get nickel one from the Replacements. [So] he bought a used copy of Appetite, and learned the bass lines.


Paul Westerberg, Tommy's band mate in The Replacements, would say Tommy did it because he wanted to be a star:

I'm not the least bit surprised. People don't move to Los Angeles to be a musician or a songwriter. They go to be a star. That's what Tommy is doing. ... It's what he's always been groomed for.


Media would also point out that Tommy had previously mocked Axl Rose from stage when he was performing with the Replacements [Detroit Metro Times, August 20, 2003].

But Tommy would state he joined because of the novelty of what Axl's was doing:

When I took this gig, it was for the reason that no one else had — supposedly — ever done this in rock, resumed the band name with the leader and try to do a whole other thing, but still do the same thing. That’s the most interesting concept I can imagine.

All I can to do eliminate that (skepticism) is show up and do my gig. I don't really spend any time worrying about it, or giving it much thought. I’m working with this guy that I like working with, I like the music we’re playing.

I think it's turning out exactly that way. I don’t give a (crap) what people think, as long as they come out to the shows, and they have fun and we have fun.

[...]

I’ve always wanted to do something interesting, whether it was my own stuff or whatever. I’ve done a lot of crazy (stuff) musically over the last 10 years.

If it works out, it could be history making, 'cause no one's ever done this before. A lead singer's never taken the (band) name and continued on with an entirely new band and done that successfully before.

I kinda got into this for exactly that reason; if you're gonna try to do something really whacked, this would be the way to do it. I really don't think about the consequences either way; it's either gonna work or it's not, and in the meantime we're all having a good time trying to make it happen.

At the time, the options I was looking at, I had a few things on my plate. I had a record deal that I was pretty sure I was just about to get f**ked on, and I think at the time I felt ‘of these things I’ve got in front of me, what is the most interesting thing that isn’t going to be on my shoulders necessarily?’ Because, you know, you do your own thing for awhile and you’re carrying all that weight... Sometimes you go, ‘Ah, I can’t do that now. Let’s take a break from that.

Granted, GN’R wasn’t my thing at the time, but it’s been pretty awesome.

I got into Guns 'n' Roses because I looked at Axl and thought, "This guy's the embodiment of punk rock." I've gotten strength from seeing how determined he is. [...] I've always had my instinct for people. I know bullshit when I see it.

I feel like I had been kind of climbing uphill for a while, and I thought maybe it was time to try something else for a bit and try and regroup my musical flow, so to speak. And the G N’R thing came up and everyone looked at it as an opportunity to do something I hadn’t done before. And, uh, after auditioning and them liking me and stuff, I got to talkin’ to Axl about what he wanted to do. And what he was trying to do was something that had never really been done before and I thought, "Well, that’s pretty awesome. No one has done this before. I think this guy has a lot of fuckin’ balls to do it and I’m kinda into that." So I kinda felt like it would be cool to just go play bass and be in a band rather than have it all be on me. And that’s kinda what the whole point of it was, to kinda change it up.

I talked to Axl about what he wanted to do with this thing. It's never been done before, where the singer keeps the name while the other guys fucking quit. Just knowing what his goals were for the whole thing that I thought 'This is probably the ballsiest guy I've ever fucking played with, so I'm in.'

I was surprised, too. But Axl has some good reasons for what he's doing and what we're doin,' and I thought, 'You know, that's a ballsy fuckin' dude, I gotta check this out.'


And on the longevity of it:

I have no expectations whatsoever. As long as we’re having fun with it and people are having fun seeing it. I think I could be involved for an indefinite amount of time.


Tommy would also specifically address Westerberg:

[Westerberg]'s gone out on a limb to say a bunch of nonsense that's made me look bad, that's made Axl look bad, that's made him [Axl] feel bad... . It's just lame. It's really unnecessary, for one. I don't appreciate it, and Axl doesn't deserve any of it.


Being asked if he felt nervous about replacing Duff:

Not really, because I wasn’t in that scene when they were around originally.


Despite apparently working with Guns N' Roses, Tommy still had time for other projects, and on November 14, 1998, he was scheduled to play a show in New York city with his band 'Perfect' [Rolling Stone, November 14, 1998].

Later, Tommy would say he hadn't really understood the enormity of joining Guns N' Roses:

I didn't really ponder the enormity of it until I played a few shows with them, and then it was like, "Oh, jeez, this is like [expletive] bananas!' [...] The whole thing is pretty crazy, but I didn't think about that when I first joined. I thought it just seems like kind of a cool thing, I should check this out.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:39 pm

TOMMY BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES


PERSONAL LIFE


Tommy has a daughter, Ruby, who, in 1998, was living with his ex-wife in Minneapolis [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998].


1979-1991: THE REPLACEMENTS


Tommy's most famous band before joining Guns N' Roses was 'The Replacements', and he started at the age of 12:

I started the band with my brother when I was 12, actually. He showed me how to play bass, and we quickly made a band out of what we were all doing. I don’t really have anything to compare it to, because that’s all I knew. So it was totally normal to me, though it was probably insane to other people. But it’s an odd thing to play nightclubs when you’re 14 years old, and sneaking off into the kitchen so you don’t get pulled up by the cops. Certainly the whole thing kept me from grand theft auto, which is where I was headed. At that age I was a thief, causing lots of trouble. By 11 I’d already been arrested a couple of times. But luckily my brother got me out of all that.


The Dallas Observer would describe the band:

What he was with the Replacements was the bass player, the guitarist's little brother, the teenage freakshow. His brother Bob might have lit fireballs of angst and reckless hilarity onstage, Tommy and drummer Chris Mars might have contributed equally to the band's hedonist legend, but it was singer-guitarist Paul Westerberg's songs of deep romantic yearning and youthful dissatisfaction that made the band's antics ring true. A bunch of drunk guys onstage pinching each other's asses doesn't mean much, but coupled with such songs as "Color Me Impressed" or "Here Comes a Regular" or "Unsatisfied" or dozens of others, the mischief played like passion, like every note might be the last.

As ever, the hard living took its toll. Bob was kicked out in '87 when his bad habits became too much even for his bandmates. Westerberg's marriage eventually fell apart. So did Tommy's. And Westerberg's songs became contemplative, mellow, mature. The band's cult and legend had failed to turn into much commercial success; the broken expectations, the personal conflicts, and the lifestyle itself eventually caused the band to self-destruct in 1991. Tommy had spent his teenage years in a drunken rock cartoon, and, since he hadn't been the songwriter, had few tangibles to show for it--save the stories about stink bombs, trashed Winnebagos, pissing in ice machines, bouncer riots, and chemical intake.


Tommy would himself talk about the reputation they had:

We did all that, no doubt about it. At one point we were actually laughing at the stories we were reading about Guns N' Roses: 'You've got to be kidding! They're writing about this?' We were an emotionally fucked-up bunch of guys. We were a few fries short of a Happy Meal, for sure. But I get really tired of people coming up and going, 'Man, you guys were so great! I saw you when you guys couldn't even stand on stage!' But do you remember any of the songs?


Interestingly, this quote came from an interview published in May 1998, about a month after the first rumours started spreading about Tommy being involved with Guns N' Roses. Curiously the interview doesn't contain questions regarding Tommy and GN'R, but Tommy's reference to GN'R above is unlikely to be entirely coincidental.

And discussing the band:

[...] the Replacements stuff that we did, I'm still proud of. It's all great, fine, good, all that -- but Paul [Westerberg] just wasn't a team player: He wrote the songs, and we played them.

It kept me from grand theft auto. That's the direction I was headed at the time, and I'd be in jail or dead by now, easily.

Most likely I'd be in jail right now [if I wasn't a musician]. Because when my brother taught me how to play bass, when I was like 11, prior to that, I'd gone to jail a couple of times for like stealing and that. The last time I went to jail before my brother taught me how to play bass, they wanted to send me away to a boys' reform school for about six months. They just thought I was going down that road. Next thing would've been grand theft auto, then I would've fucking...., murder, fucking rob a grocery store or whatever. I was just a fucking total hoodlum at a very young age, so he kinda saved me from that.



1992-1994: BASH & POP


After The Replacements ended, Tommy travelled up in Los Angeles where he tried to get another band up and running, but it didn't happen [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998]. This band was Bash & Pop and they released one record, '93's 'Friday Night is Killing Me' [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998]. Tommy would later refer to the record as a solo effort [In-Forum, January 18, 2005].

That record's raw. It's just me and my guitar and my guts basically, and you can hear that. It's crappy in a good way to me. Because I don't mind growing up in public. I've been doing it all my life: OK, here I am, my pants down to my ankles.


The Bash & pop record was a failure and Tommy took a job selling computer supplies over the phone [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998]:

For two months I felt like 'worm-boy.' But then I got kind of good at it. As hard as it was getting up at five in the morning to do that gig, it's the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. It made everything make a lot more sense. It was the first job I ever had. It did a lot for me and made me a lot stronger person.

I was great at it. Made more money than I ever had from music.

The Bash & Pop thing would have continued on had I not lost interest in the record company more than the band. It was pretty much my solo project, anyway. I had a couple of guys who played on the record, but most of the instrumentation was just me. But what ended up happening was that I moved out to L.A., and my drummer went back to Minneapolis.

I went broke and had to learn how to support myself without music. I stopped writing music for a while.



TELEMARKETING


Right around the time I turned 30, I thought about doing something else in addition to music, just because I’d been kind of spinning my wheels for a little bit. I actually did get a telemarketing job for a while, which was good. I had started to feel like I wasn’t making a true kind of music. I was relying so heavily on it to make my living that it started to get bastardized a little bit. Having a day job for a while got me back to going, “Wow, I can make money doing other shit and do what I like to do for the reasons I like doing it.” Suddenly, I started writing songs that I liked.

I went through a period more where I was writing for commerce rather than art. As soon as you do that, you’re fucked. No one’s ever done it well as far as I know, and the ones that have done it well are crap. I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve always respected the critical element of what I’ve done and tried to maintain some credibility. I’ve sort of grown up that way, listening to music that was more credible and being involved in music that was more credible. Not to fucking pat my own back—because I’m the last to do that—but I just try to maintain that respect. I want to stay on that path of credibility. Not that I look at myself as some fucking hoity-toity artist, but I’d rather be on a path of artistic credibility than in a fleeting money pit.


Talking about what he was selling as a telemarketeer:

Toner. I was selling fucking ink cartridges and stuff. I was strapped for cash for a while, and I just decided, “Fuck it, I want to make some money, this is getting kind of stupid.” So I learned to sell toner over the phone to people who didn’t want any. The best thing about it was that I learned a whole lot about myself as far as wanting to get back to writing music that came from inside rather than music that went into someone’s back pocket. I also learned how to sell myself a little bit. With the Replacements, we never got to the point where we were confident and able to exude any strength—you know, where from a listener’s standpoint or a crowd standpoint, they’d go, “Wow, these guys are really on top of their game.” We instead fell apart in our game, which I guess is part of the fun of it all and the good part of it. It was good to get confidence in what I was doing and also be able to say, “I don’t fucking care about all of this extraneous, peripheral nonsense.” I like what I do and if I can get two people to buy it or if my daughter likes it, I’m stoked.

I sold toner cartridges over the phone, kind of a telemarketing thing.


And on whether he was good at selling toner:

I was. [Laughs] I got good at it really quick and, hence, made money so that I could go back to writing songs. Honest to god, the day I got good at selling toner, my entire life did a 180. It really was a pivotal moment, and I’ve been doing great since.

I got pretty good at it. It eventually transferred into my present-day life, being a salesman. [...] It was more of a way to cure myself and communicate, which was crucial. When the Replacements broke up, I was pretty skittish. People were pretty weird and treated me pretty crazy, you know kind of getting up in my face about shit. Kinda made me kinda an introvert. Fuckin' selling shit the telemarketing way kinda got me back out of my head and kinda got me back into being more of what I am, which is not an introvert, more of an extrovert. And to kinda, you know, be more of a communicator.


Tommy would work as a telemarketeer for about a year and a half [Willamette Week Online, August 25, 2004].


1996-1998: THE PERFECT


After almost leaving music for a career in telemarketing, he ended up founded the band 'Perfect' in 1996 [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998] which at first was another version of Bash & Pop [The Albany Times, August 21, 2003]. They were about to release their debut album, 'Seven Days a Week', on July 14 when Tommy joined Guns N' Roses [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998; LA Weekly, June 18, 1998]. They had also planned a tour with Franck Black [St. Cloud Times, April 30, 1998].

Talking about The Perfect:

I've been doing music since I was 11. What I grew up with, what I turned into, and where my inspirations come from haven't changed. I don't aspire to be a whole lot different from what I am.

I have more invested in the Perfect record than I did in the 'Mats, because I'm writing the songs. I can understand what Paul felt a lot now, freakin' out a lot of the time from having his soul on the line, and having it just come back as a piece of coal.

It turned into much more of a band thing [than Bash & Pop]. [Perfect] was closer to my vision of what I wanted to be doing at that time, rather than being a solo artist or anything like that.


Around this time, early 1998, Tommy would be back focusing 100 % on music again, adding revenues from solo shows [The Dallas Observer, May 21, 1998]:

I haven't been very good at it, but that's sorta why I keep doing it. Damn it, one day I'm going to be all right at it, and it'll be fine. It's a challenge. It's more about the words and emotion. That's a hard bit.


The Perfect would release an EP, When Squirrels Play Chicken, on the label Reckless in 1995 [The Albany Times Union, August 21, 2003].

After Tommy joining GN'R, both the Perfect album and their planned tour was postponed [St. Cloud Times, April 30, 1998]. In June it was reported that he struggled to get his label, Restless, to release the record [LA Weekly, June 18, 1998].

That’s just one of those fuckin’ things, and it happens to every other band in LA. We made a record, spent a lot of money doing it and it seemed like the record company was gonna man up and give it a real push. Then, at the last minute, everything fell apart.

Right about that time the GNR offer came up. And I just decided, ‘Fuck it. I’m gonna go play with a band for a while.’ And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last five years.

It really was kind of heartbreaking when it didn’t come out. But only at the time. It’s sort of par for the course in the music industry, there are a million different bands out there who get screwed like that.

That was frustrating, too, because just as we made our record, we were getting screwed by the record company. So that band bit the dust, too. [...] It's always frustrating when that happens. But you know, there are a million and one bands out there doing the same thing -- equally, if not more, talented. Everyone gets screwed at one time or another -- and in some cases, many times. But it's all part of the deal. It's what you sign up for when you play rock 'n' roll.

I think the label got cold feet on how to promote it, and rather than get screwed, I realized the GNR thing was more what I wanted to do — I’d gotten beaten up with record-company bullshit and I just wanted to play in a band and pull myself together.

It took me a little while to get back into writing after the last Perfect record (that was shelved in 1998) that is finally getting released. After that whole thing got screwed up, I kind of wanted to be in a band, and the Guns N’ Roses thing obviously came along at the right time.

We made the record for a pretty good hunk of money for Restless. When it came down to marketing and promoting it, they realized how much they were in already and got cold feet about having to put anything more into it. Their marketing and radio people were absolute morons. They had a good publicist and a couple of good people working there, but overall the people that were going to be getting it out were totally inept. I knew we were going to get screwed on it, so that’s when I started getting disheartened by the whole thing. I was doing a session with a friend of mine who told me that Guns N’ Roses needed a bass player, and I thought it would be cool to join a band for a while and not worry about this shit anymore.

When we got through mixing, the record company started getting cold feet about how they were going to promote it. Then the GNR thing came up, and some other things, and I knew they were about to shelve it and not do anything good by it. It was a bit of a bummer, and I didn't write anything for about a year after. . . .


In 2003, Restless Records was planning to release the record for 2004 [Detroit Metro Times, August 20, 2003] but later it was stated it would be the Salem-based label Rykodisc that would release the record [The Boston Phoenix, September 5, 2003]. It would be released in September 2004 [The Washington Post, February 4, 2005].

Between my own record coming out and the Perfect record's coming out, I'll probably not be able to promote much of that either. That was done about six, seven years ago. [...] They shelved it because they spent all this money to make it, then they didn't want to commit to spending any money to putting it out. Restless, a real shit label. That was right at the time when I was going, 'Ya know what? I've had enough of this shit. I'm going to go be in a band for a little while,' and I joined Guns. So now they're putting it out. Like they're trying to capitalize on the Guns record coming out and a little bit on my solo record coming out possibly.

Yeah, but it’s not called [Seven Days A Week] anymore. It’s called Once, Twice, Three Times A Maybe. It’s coming out on Ryko. As soon as we can come up with some artwork that’s suitable, we’ll put it out. We remixed it, took one song off it, and it’s coming out (this year).



PUFF DADDY AND ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS


Perfect was playing a show in New York, and this guy had seen us play and asked us if we wanted to do a remix with Puff Daddy. I thought he was joking! They sent us the track a couple of weeks later, and most of that track, ‘It’s All About the Benjamins,’ is us. Certainly the chorus is me and [Perfect’s] Marc Solomon singing.


Tommy's remix version of Puff Daddy's song would be featured on the 1997 release It's All About the Benjamins single. Interestingly, in 1998, Slash would play this version live together with Puff Daddy (see previous chapter).

Talking about the song:

You know what? That was a fun experience. I wouldn't mind doing a lot more stuff like that. It was so much fun to take a rap song and write a chorus to it. The whole remix of that song that you hear at any basketball or football or any kind of game, that's my chorus. I love that.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:41 pm

APRIL-DECEMBER 1998
SERIOUSLY RECORDING


After Josh and Tommy joined the band all key positions had again been filled and the lineup was complete. It consisted of Axl, Tommy, Robin, Dizzy and Josh, and possibly Paul. And in early July it would be stated that the band had booked studio time for August [Muzic.com, July 10, 1998]. Later in the same month, it would be reported that the band was indeed recording [Stevens Point Journal, July 11, 1998; MTV News, July 28, 1998] with Tommy and Josh in the fold [Entertainment Weekly, July 31, 1988]. The plan was to release the record in 1999 [MTV News, July 28, 1998].


Tommy and Josh in the studio
1998


An anonymous person from "Rose's camp" would state:

I think this news will put to rest any rumors that Axl has joined the witness protection program.


The recording caused some scheduling conflicts for the highly sought-after session drummer Josh:

As soon as I discovered the studio time would conflict with the Vandals tour. I told the other band members [of the Vandals] they should find a replacement. It was a hard decision, but I figured it would be better than canceling the tour altogether.


But in early September, it would be claimed the band hadn't done any recording yet, but was scheduled to go in later in the month [Muzic.com, September 3, 1998].

In September 1998, the remixer/engineer Critter was said to be working with the band on recording and programming [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998], and the band was said to be hoping for a mid-1999 release [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998].

In October 1998, a spokesperson at Geffen Record would say that the band hoped to have a record out by 1999 [MTV News, October 21, 1998].

Although Guns N' Roses was quickly becoming less and less relevant to the music scene, Axl still had his fans:

I know Axl pretty well, which basically means I don’t understand him at all. I just don’t get it. Guns N’ Roses is the last great hope for hard rock. If they got back together and made a straight rock record, it would sell 15 million copies.

I mean I can't wait for him to make a record, and come back, and I think Axl is great. I know I'm very much of the minority, but I think Axl is great. I think he's gonna make a great record, whatever decade it ends up being, and, hum, you know, I'm counting on it.

I think I'm totally the minority, in that I think he's gonna pull it off. A lot of people think he's just really selfish and stuck-up, but he's also really smart. It's not gonna be a Guns N' Roses record, in what the rest of the world understands as a Guns N' Roses record.


In December it would be reported that the band had been working in the studio since July, but mostly been in pre-production [New York Daily News, December 17, 1998]. A spokesperson would say:

[Axl]’s only seriously now in the studio recording.


The estimated release date was in the summer of 1999 [New York Daily News, December 17, 1998], but Ed Rosenblatt was not certain about the release date:

In 1998 and 1999 you start getting a little bit nervous. Edgar Bronfman [CEO of Seagram] picks up the phone more than once. He wanted to know what was going on. You unfortunately have got to give him the answer, you don’t know. Because you don’t.



"A LEAD VOCAL AND A MIX"


In 2005, James Barber, an A&R rep at Geffen would talk about being involved with the band in this period:

Nothing else had worked, so Geffen figured they’d send me in to talk to Axl after I moved to Los Angeles. We desperately wanted the new album for Christmas 1998 and I had a year to get it finished. Whenever anyone asks me about GNR, I think about Rutger Hauer’s line in Blade Runner: ‘I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.’

No expense was spared; they were the biggest band in the history of the label and, even though everyone except Axl was gone, Geffen Records lived and breathed for another GNR album.

The Robin Finck/Josh Freese/Tommy Stinson/Billy Howerdel/Dizzy Reed version of the album that existed in 1998 was pretty incredible. It still sounded like GNR but there were elements of Zeppelin, Nine Inch Nails and Pink Floyd mixed in. If Axl had recorded vocals, it would have been an absolutely contemporary record in 1999.

People close to the project have since told me that I don’t know what I’m talking about, that the current version of the record in no way resembles what I heard in early 1999. That’s too bad.


And mention that all that was needed were lead vocals and a mix:

Seven years ago, the record just needed a lead vocal and a mix. The last time I was at the studio was two days before my daughter was born. Last night she read all of ‘Hop on Pop’ to me. Some mysteries passeth all understanding.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:41 pm

MAY 1, 1998
THE RECORDING AGREEMENT IS AMENDED
AND AXL RECEIVES AN ADVANCE TO FINISH CHINESE DEMOCRACY


On May 1, 1998, the recording agreement of September 1, 1992, between Axl, Slash and Duff, and Geffen Records, was amended to confirm Slash and Duff's departure from the agreement, resulting in the agreement now being between Axl and the label only [Legal document, March 15, 2004]. This means that Slash and Duff would be relieved from any "charges against their royalty accounts for the enormous recording costs and other expenses being incurred by Axl Rose (the only 'Remaining Member' of Guns N' Roses) in connection with the recording of the new Guns N' Roses studio album" [Legal document, March 15, 2004]. In other words, Slash and Duff would not have their royalties reduced due to the costs of making Chinese Democracy.

In the other agreement signed May 1, 1998, Axl promised to finish Chinese Democracy before March 1, 1999, and would in return receive a "substantial advance" from Geffen [Legal document, March 15, 2004]. This advance was $1 million and if Axl finished the album by March 1, 1999, he would receive another $1 million [The New York Times, March 6, 2005]. Youth, one of the band's producer at the time, would also receive a bonus if the album was finished by this date [The New York Times, March 6, 2005].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:41 pm

SEPTEMBER 1998
LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - SEAN BEAVAN


Then, in the second half of 1998, it was reported that Sean Beavan was discussing with the band to be the new producer [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998]. According to insiders, Beavan and Axl had agreed in principle, but details and contracts had yet to be worked out [Rolling Stone Magazine, September 18, 1998]. By November the pair was allegedly working together in the studio, although Beavans's manager, Shannon O'Shea, would not confirm that Beavan's involvement [Rolling Stone, November 14, 1998]:

[Beavan is] up for several things right now. Guns n' Roses may or may not be one of them.


Throughout 1999 it would be clear from numerous media reports that Beavan and engineer Critter were selected for the project.

And in 2000, Goldstein would confirm Beavan's prominent producer role:

[Beavan has] been the only producer. The others were people we met with or tried out on some tracks [with].


Later, Beavan would recount how it was working with Axl, and emphasize his humour:

Axl is a very thoughtful and loyal guy. He's also really funny. A great joke and story teller. It's been a long time since I was involved, but I'm sure Axl has a few tricks up his sleeve. We'll have to wait and see.
Sp1at, April 8, 2005


And when asked about the highlights of his career he would among other mention this:

- the 45 minute stand up sessions with Axl as he warmed up to sing. My sides would ache!
Sp1at, April 8, 2005


Beavan's involvement in the project seem to have ended in 1999:

We are still friends, but I haven't been up to his place since 1999.
Sp1at, April 8, 2005


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:42 pm

1998-
IZZY, AFTER GUNS N' ROSES; RELATIONSHIP WITH AXL


1998/1999 - RIDE ON


Despite seemingly become tired of music last year, in 1998 or 1999 he would release a new solo album called 'Ride On':

Also Izzy is releasing a brand new record on his brand web page very very soon.

It was only 1998 or 1999, I don't remember, that we started Ride On. It came out only in Japan and we played a few shows there.​



Ride On
November 1999


Explaining the limited release:

[…] we sent it to some companies in London and UK. and they did not answer with very much enthusiasm, they weren't crazy about it, for that reason we weren't able to publish it in Europe. We are trying to put it out this year through Sanctuary.
Kerrang! (Spain), June 2001; translated from Spanish

[…] when we recorded “Ride On” no company wanted it, because they didn’t see any singles, so I decided to release it in Japan.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


Talking about his solo records:

These records I've been putting out, it's painless man. We just have some fun, get the songs going, work on 'em a bit and there's really nothing to it after you've done it a few times.


In April 2000, Izzy would do a four-show tour in japan to support 'Ride On' with Duff joining the band [Japanese Radio, April 19, 2000].

[…] we went to Japan and had a great time playing there. We went with Rick and Taz…
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

It was nice, because now we don’t drink and we remember everything now. It’s nice to play with him. Yeah, we had a great time.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


When asked if they had played any Guns N' Roses songs during this mini-tour, Duff responded:

We played 'Attitude', which is not a Guns N' Roses song, but we made it popular. "Made popular by Guns N' Roses" [says in a joking tone].

In the 80's, the band just struck a nerve. But since I left, I've never played any Guns N' Roses songs. I played in Japan one time with Duff and we tried 'Paradise City' but we couldn't do it and keep a straight face.



LOOKING BACK AT TRANSITIONING FROM GUNS N' ROSES TO A SOLO CAREER


I started tracking and I signed a two album solo deal with Geffen Records, and we did the Ju Ju Hounds, and then we did 117°, which we did later - I think we did that around ’95. So there was a three or four year space there. We did two solo records and I just took up where I left off with Guns N’ Roses. But the big difference was that you go from the stadium superstar band situation back... you’re playing in Amsterdam, you’re playing in Brussels, you know, you’re in Europe, and they’re like, “Oh yeah, this guy,” but you’re back to a theater. So we start the tour, we do a round of clubs... cool stuff, you know? Then we do the second round of the same tour, same year on the Ju Ju Hounds record, and we branch into theaters. And it didn’t take long. We’re right up into the 5,000-6,000 seater range, and the crowds are rocking, everything’s on time, it’s fantastic. And, you know, we put in seven or eight months doing that, and...


Comparing touring with Guns N' Roses to his solo bands:

No, it was a totally different game. I mean, for one, all the guys in my band had never been in that sort of situation, so they never became spoiled or jaded, or just, you know, delusional about their status. So, you know, it was totally different. And it was, actually, pretty easygoing. I mean, it was really just fun. It was really a lot of fun – a lot of hard work, but it was fun.



MOVING BACK TO LOS ANGELES


I sold my house [in Indiana], now I live in Los Angeles. I did it because I had that yard with all that grass and I never cut it. When you live in a house that has grass, you have to take care of it and I didn’t, so it was a complete disaster. Although I’m thinking of coming back to Europe. I like southern Europe, I like Spain. All of southern Europe.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish



2001 - RIVER


In 2001 Izzy would release yet another solo record, River.


River
May 21, 2001


As for Ride On, he struggled to have the record released but eventually ended up on Sanctuary:

[…] when we recorded “Ride On” no company wanted it, because they didn’t see any singles, so I decided to release it in Japan. With the latter, “River”, the same thing happened until it reached the hands of Sanctuary Records, a company from England. I received a call and they told me: “Hey Izzy, we love your album”, so they released it. So now we’re with a small company, which is better than being in a gigantic company.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


For the US release, Izzy would end up using the independent Bilawn Records label and the album would be available on the Bilawn's website [CDNow, August 11, 2001].

Talking about the record:

It was only 1998 or 1999, I don't remember, that we started Ride On. It came out only in Japan and we played a few shows there.  Then I started this new album, River, right away. The shows in Japan really invigorated us. We composed a few tracks there, others in Seattle - where Duff lives -, and a reggae track in Los Angeles.​

[Explaining the album title]: On River, there's a track called River and it happens to be my favorite on the album.

[…] we've been together since 1995. There is Rick Richards of Georgia Satellites who plays the guitar with me. He plays all slide parts and solos. He is very strong and we perfectly completes each other. He's been with me since 1992 and played on all my disks. There is Duff who also plays on my disk. He plays on all titles except on the reggae. This is not a style that inspires him but me, I love it. To the percussion there is Taz who comes from a psychobilly group of that has been badly marketed in the States. It is a type of rockabilly played knew steroids, in depth the case. It would be necessary that I send you a CD. He plays on my last three albums. There is also Ian McLagan that is also a precious help to me. I am very attached to the human rapport and rather of the faithful kind. These types are extra and I am very proud to have them with me. They will be also present on the next tour.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

I don't have anything against writing jointly; I wrote most songs for River alone, but there are some exceptions, like the first piece of the album, where it is Rick who came up with the music. When it was pointed and that he played me this riff, I found it so good that I made it the starting point of a new song and I don't regret anything when I listen to the final result. I only had to put lyrics over it. All was held perfectly with a lot of spontaneity. The remainder has been made in a very simple manner, I write in my corner with acoustic and I unload to repeat them to show them that that I made. Then, we arrange that all together, each is free to bring ideas and to play parts as he feels it on his instrument. I'm not a dictator. Rarely, I compose on the electric but I find that it is easier with an acoustic. Sometimes, we even play all together with the acoustic before passing to the big electric sound. It is maybe a question of resonance. It is as when you sing while accompanying on twelve-string acoustics. It would be necessary besides that I buy myself one. I have an excellent six string, but it is going to be necessary that I think about finding me one of those.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

There were five days of work in Seattle and five days in Los Angeles. The majority of the songs were written before, but much of the arrangements were made in studio on the fly. There is only the reggae that was written directly in the studio. We were alone, Taz and me, and we left on this idea to go until the end, he did the percussion and I undertook the remainder. All the remainder was recorded with the whole group. With regard to the words, I must confess that I arrived at the studio with quite a lot of holes but we finished everything there. Generally, I am satisfied with only one verse and only one chorus to start to work on a title. Thereafter, I finish with the will of inspiration. Ian McLagan did all the keyboard parts in only one day when we were in Texas. I believe that all really was in the box in three weeks, which is not enormous since the mixing is included.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

[…] there are three or four songs on the album which I had written during the tour that we did last year in Japan. The rest was made up when I was in L.A. There's also a song which I had already worked in 1992 with Ju Ju Hounds. I had to record it at least five times, there's even a version where Slash does the lead guitar. It was a good song, but there was something which didn't stick. I changed full with things and I also changed the lyrics, it finally became the reggae which is reproduced on River! The title-track, "River", dates from at least a year ago, I recorded it on my 4-track and I revised it a good package of time before arriving at the final result. I can leave an idea in a corner for six months or a year before returning there, I created a kind of musical bank for myself where I can draw ideas according to my desires or of my inspiration.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

This is more like my first solo album, it has a lot more piano. I went back to Ian McLagan, that’s why there’s a lot more piano and organ. I’ve also worked with Rick Richards again, so it’s very similar to the first one.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


Talking about his collaborations with Duff:

I actually just spoke with him on the phone yesterday. He has worked on all my albums. We love working together, we always have had a great time, since Guns N’ Roses.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


And Duff would talk about collaborating with Izzy:

I’ve gone and played with Izzy over in Japan. Izzy puts a record out a year over there, and uh, tours there once a year. And it’s great, you know, he has no interest in putting a record out any where else, at all. […] He doesn’t like the stardom part of playing - he likes to play, and he likes to make records. […]  Guns sold so many damn records that, you know, nobody really has to do anything for a living – you know what I mean? That’s not part of the equation. I don’t want it to sound anything more than just absolutely truthful. He doesn’t have to do it for a living, you know. So he just does it because he wants to all right? It’s very cool, you know? Izzy’s Izzy, you know?


And on touring the band in the summer:

I’m very content with [The River]. Now that it’s done, I hope to reunite the band to rehearse the songs and carry out a small tour in the summer.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish



2002: ON DOWN THE ROAD


In early 2002 it would be reported that Izzy would collaborate with both Slash and Duff on his next record, and that Slash would contribute with three songs he had written himself [KNAC.com, January 15, 2002]. According to Slash, he had written five songs with Izzy in November 2001 [MTV News, January 23, 2002].

The thing with Izzy's [solo] record is that I got involved with him because we talk on the phone a lot, and he's just always doing these anonymous projects in his own quiet little fashion. It's just nice to get together and write again.

We got together to work on songs, and they sound like Izzy, like Izzy and Slash, so they're easy to recognize that way. They have a sense of humor about them, but they're loose and laid back. They're not heavy-duty, arrangement-oriented songs. They're just basic ideas that we thought were cool, so we threw it down.

Me and Slash are just the session guys, man [laughs]. I just went in and did bass tracks for the first three songs in an hour and kept at it.

We were in the studio last week. He called me up and asked me if I’d like to play on some stuff he’d written. And we really don’t know what we’re going to do with it. It’s the [Thanksgiving] holiday this weekend, and I guess we’ll meet next week and figure it out from there. It was good playing with him again. It was like that getting on a bicycle thing...
Classic Rock, January 2002; interview from 2001


But in June it would be stated that Slash would not contribute to the record [Blabbermouth, June 14, 2002]. The record was also slated for an August release in Japan [Blabbermouth, June 14, 2002].


On Down the Road
August 21, 2002


Sometime in 2002 Izzy was asked if the record would be released in USA and Europe:



And when asked about release date and touring:

Possible summer release and tour.....will keep you posted........



VELVET REVOLVER


Izzy's brief period with what would become Velvet Revolver will be discussed in its own chapter.


FEBRUARY 2003: IZZY SUES BIG FD MANAGEMENT AND LAWYERS


In February 2003, Izzy would sue his and Guns N' Roses' former managers (Big FD) and lawyers [Blabbermouth, February 25, 2003]. After Izzy had left Guns N' Roses he had continued to pay his managers as per an agreement, but was supposed to stop paying them when Slash and Duff left the band; this had not happened and in the suit he demanded the commission of $231,575 that had accrued to be paid back to him [Blabbermouth, February 25, 2003].


2003: LIKE A DOG


In June 2003 it would be reported that Izzy had recorded a new album, Like a Dog, that would tentatively be released later in the year followed by a tour [Rolling Stone, June 6, 2003]. Rick Richards and Taz Bentley would be back on the record with Izzy playing guitar and bass [Rolling Stone, June 6, 2003].

Duff would talk about Izzy:

But Izzy leads a pretty charmed life, he does what he wants to do when he wants to do it and he doesn’t get caught up I any sort of huppla, he refuses to go there, he’ll make a record on his own, he’ll license it to Japan and maybe some where in Europe, and he’ll do a little tour, I’ve toured with him over in Japan, and he’s just this very pleasant country gentleman you know [...]

Izzy is a good guy, my birthday was last week and he drove eleven hours from Baja, to get to this birthday party.  He's just a straight up good dude.


And Slash would describe Izzy's release approach:

The thing is that Izzy was so shattered by the whole Guns N' Roses experience that he'll never go back to being in [a band] situation again. He does music at this point, but that's just for the love of doing it, and recording stuff on his 8-track. When he makes records, he makes them real quick and just puts it on the Internet and moves on.


Dizzy, though, would be less complimentary when discussing Izzy's songwriting current capabilities:

And... just as a musician... Izzy used to be a great songwriter- his contribution to Guns N' Roses first album are phenomenal. But, its almost like the guy has lost the fire... I mean I saw the guy a couple years back in the studio... and he was showing me a song he had just written called "Toothpuller" - it was literally about him visiting the dentist and getting a tooth pulled out. [...] I mean... this is a guy who wrote some badass songs and now he's writing about getting his tooth pulled... I mean come on... can you imagine Axl singing that live?


Being asked about his favorite song among his own:

You know what, my favorite is the last one we’ve done, Like A Dog, the actual album, and I like all the tracks, I don’t have a favorite. I mean, I like them all. But that’s my favorite, the last one we did. I suppose it’s the most fresh and, you know, it’s a new approach.



MARCH-DECEMBER 2004: DO YOU LOVE ME? WITH STEVEN


In March 2004 the admin of Steven's official fansite would report that Steven had been recording with Izzy:

Steven flew back to LA last night where he was picked up at LAX by none other than Izzy Stradlin! Izzy invited his former bandmate to collaborate on some new music. The plan is to record two songs, possibly to be included on Izzy's next release. I hope to have more info for you asap!

Steven returned from LA with a CD-R featuring two songs of his collaboration with Izzy! One new original song, and a cover of the classic oldie, “Do you Love Me?”. Izzy’s friend JT flew in from Texas. He plays bass on the tracks and he also engineered the session. Izzy took the lead vocal duty and Steven contributed backing vocals. The songs were recorded at Izzy’s home on his digital 8 track. They did about five takes of each song, and Steven was surprised when JT complimented him by saying, “Dude, you are an amazing drummer!” Steven says the recording sounds "fucking great!" and would like to send the tracks to some radio stations, most likely those in Europe. Also, the three of them plan to return in April to record five more songs!


On December 24, 2004, the cover of "Do You Love Me" was released on Steven's website.


APRIL 2004: PLAYING WITH THE NEW YORK DOLLS


In April 2004 it would be reported that Izzy was to take Johnny Thunders guitar spot in a one-show resurrection of The New York Dolls at the London's Meltdown Festival [Brave Words, April 10, 2004]. David Johansen, singer in the New York Dolls would explain:

Izzy’s a sharp guy, and he broke his teeth on our tunes, so I think he’ll do a really good job. I don’t want to have to turn this thing into marathon rehearsals for just one show — hopefully everyone will do their homework and we can all just get together and throw it on the stage.

Do you know that Izzy’s gonna be Johnny Thunders? The Dolls are doing a reunion next month… [...] Izzy just… he called me and he goes, (does Izzy imitation) “You’ll never believe, I got this call today, man… from Johansen… and, uh, he wants to do… they’re gonna do a Dolls reunion, and, uh, they want me to be Thunders… and, yeah, it’s like, wow…” ”So I learned the record, and, uh, yeah, uh, I got it down… and this should be a blast man!”


But in May it was reported that Izzy had backed out when he learned that that plans existed for the band to do additional dates, a prospect that would have required Izzy to learn more of the group's catalogue and to dedicate more of his time [Blabbermouth, May 5, 2004].


2006: NEW RECORD IN THE WORKS


In early 2006, Izzy would say he was working on a new solo album:

yeah,still workin on it......should be ready soon.


He would also be interested in releasing a box set of solo material spanning his entire career:

.i`m thinking of releasing entire catalog of solo materials,1993-2006,plus out takes and some bonus material.looking for a cool label to make this happen.


When asked about a new tour:

possibly.....would like to do a few europe dates soon ,and south america is a possibility......promoters should contact us with offers at [removed].


And later in the year he would be asked again:

I will let you know if any future stuff comes up....


He would later say he might tour depending upon the popularity of his digital albums:

[...] if this thing takes off and people start pull the downloads off the net, then yeah, maybe I’ll just go out and do some shows to back it up. You know, until now I’ve never had a format to tour on, because if I went to Japan I’d have to play the record that was released there, and if I went to Europe I’d have to play the record that was released there. It’s all been splintered, you know?



SEPTEMBER 2006: GOING DIGITAL


In September 2006, Izzy would release the albums Ride On, River, On Down The Road, Like A Dog on iTunes:

The future looks a bit digital at this point in time but we will have to wait and see.... They are closing down the "Tower Records" stores in America as we speak and it feels like a big hit to the whole system. It was a rock monument......no more!? [...] today I am just happy to finally have my last 10 years of solo work made available [through "i tunes"] to people who may have an interest....

This is what I... you know, you see this internet thing coming and you go, “Wow, things are changing fast.” Same gear, same rooms, and we did a lot of the tracks off records in Rumbo, some in Seattle... The last record we did, Like A Dog, we did that in Dallas, Texas at Nomad Studios. That was on Pro Tools, 24- track into Pro Tools, and I gotta say the time to do the record was cut down by about a quarter, maybe half. [...]  I think we might have taken it down to ¼’’ tape and we finally did the mastering, but everything was done to Pro Tools and I gotta say it was fun and it was fast.

Well, let me put it this way: since ’96, you know, for ten years, I’ve been recording these albums and going all over the place. I travel a lot of time anyway, when I can. The music has been piling up and I’ll do a licensing gift for Japan. One record went there for distribution, licensing... But then I’ll get fans, you know, all the fans in Europe or South America or U.S, they’re looking for the record and they can’t get it. It’s expensive, it’s prohibitive, because you got to pay 30 or 40 dollars on Amazon, because, you know, they’ll have to print that kind of thing. This has been going on over the years, and then we do another record, I think we put out one record in Europe, European and South American distribution, same thing: the Japanese, you know, “Hey, we can’t get the record, the CD...” And over the years I’ve sent stuff around. I’ve talked to people, I’ve given... I’ve even given to John Kalodner one day - he looks like John Lennon, you know, the white suit, the beard, the hair... and I know this guy from the old days. I was like, “Holy shit, I know this guy from the label, Geffen,” and I had a CD and I said, “Hey, there’s my CD.” But nothing ever happens, you know? You know, “We don’t hear any hits. We don’t hear any singles.” I was like, “Well, this is it,” you know? “That’s what I do, this is what it is, you get what you get.” So nothing happens. But here we are, in 2006, and I’ve been looking at the net and trying to get this thing up for a long time. The way it came about was, Glend Miskel, who’s an attorney up north, sent me an email back in May and Bruno’s email was in there and an another guy. I sent those guys an email and they said, “Yeah, it takes a long time to get on iTunes.” They said, “Contact these guys, Jeff at TuneCore,” and that’s how I got to you guys. And once I got to you guys - I mean, you’re talking, like, four or five months of efforts. Once I hooked up with you guys, it was a matter of two weeks and the stuff is up, and it’s incredible. It’s incredible, right?


Being asked if it bothers him that people can just listen to selected songs now and not albums in their entirety:

No, it doesn’t bother me at all, man, I’m in. I’m in. I grew up in Indiana as a kid and the only access I had to music was Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. You had a magazine, Creem and Hit Parader – Rolling Stone, you know, as a teenager I didn’t give a shit about; it wasn’t on the list. You had those two outlets and that was it, and that’s down at the Village Pantry 7-Eleven; you know, we got to ride our bike to the snow in the winter just for that. That was the access and that’s what we lived for, to get the music, get the information, get the photos... And you’re talking 8-tracks – this is back in the 70s, it’s 8-tracks. You’d go to Woolworths, Woolco... I had some hooligan friends and we’d go in, you know, a pack of five guys, and these guys showed me how to actually steal 8-tracks out of those cases. Remember those plastic cases with a hole? You had to stick your (?) (laughs). These guys were always up to no good – I’m sure they still are. But it was all about, you know, making that connection, getting the music, getting those magazines... but this took days, weeks, months to get that stuff. Now it’s boom, touch of a button and there you have it.


Then being asked if it isn't a problem that the artwork of an album is lost through digital music:

Well, I gotta agree with you on the artwork. That was one of the joys of the music, I loved the artwork. And I come from an artistic background as far as drawing. I loved drawing in school and I still like to do cartoon stuff. I really, really loved the artwork and having the lyrics, and the pictures... I mean, that was actually a big, big part of it. So I do think the people today, for example younger people that are maybe discovering stuff and pulling it up, I think the experience isn’t... It could be better. I think it could be better if, maybe, we could offer the songs digitally, but then, as a bonus or as a perk, or some way, maybe there’s a way to access this cool artwork, and download it and print it, and make a poster, you know, for your room – something cool. It was a huge part of it. Besides that in the 70s you could roll your reefer on it, you know, on DC, all that thing.



TALKING ABOUT WRITING MUSIC AND HIS SOLO CAREER


Well, you know, I’ve always got a guitar somewhere. If it’s not - you know, in my cars, in my closet, there’s always a guitar. So the songs come now and then. You’re sitting on the couch, you’re on your bike, you’re walking on the street and you get a melody, you get some phrase, something happens and you get this idea. So I’ve always been doing that since I was a little kid, just making up stuff, you know, and kind of jam along. I did the last Geffen record, I think it was in ’95 or ’96, so around that point, when my second album was finished, I think I knew that I was going to be free of any record company influence or deals, and I actually was looking forward to that; and as soon as I turned in the last record, I was on it. Also I was free of management at that point. You know, you gotta understand, I went through a period of ’84, ’85... you end up doing these management deals and you need a manager when you’re starting out. And then, you know, I think I had management for ten years, and then... Anyway, ’95, ’96 is when I started on the solo stuff again and there was no label involved. My intention was really just to do the record, and see what’s gonna happen and see where I can go with it. And the internet, I’d heard of it and I was kind of interested just because of the obvious advantages: ease of distribution, you know, you can stay in California, you can stay in New York, you could stay in London or whenever you want to be, you could stay there and do what you’re going to do. But I didn’t really plug in. I was like, “I don’t know, it’s new a way to see,” you know? So I did these records and we ended up doing, I think, one licensing deal for Japan on one of them. We’d go over there, we’d play, like, a couple of weeks of shows, [and] come back.


And who he likes playing with:

It’s Rick Richards on lead guitar... actually Duff, from GN’R, played bass on the Japan tour, for that particular tour, and the drummer was Taz from Reverend Horton Heat and Burden Brothers – that’s his band now, they’re really great. So it was the same guys that I’ve always been hanging around and playing with. Duff and I, even when I left the band, Guns N’ Roses, we still talked on the phone for a while, and I’ve done a lot of stuff with him and he’s done a lot of stuff with me over the years. We’ve always been kind of on the same wavelength and we still do a lot of stuff together. The two main bands that I’ve had are the guys that I play with now, Rick and Taz, and then, you know, the Guns N’ Roses guys. I keep a pretty small circle of musician friends that - you know, once you find some guys that are great players and you get along with them, that’s really... you want to stick with that.



RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FORMER BAND MATES


As described in others chapters, after leaving Guns N' Roses in 1991 Izzy and Guns N' Roses had a conflicted relationship; but later Izzy collaborated extensively with Duff, played with Slash and Matt in the precursor to Velvet Revolver, and reconnected and played with Axl and his latest version of Guns N' Roses:

And now we’re all still friends. I talk to all these guys every week or two. We’re all still good friends.



PERSONAL LIFE


Izzy has always protected his private life but in an interview in 2006 he would reveal he had a girlfriend whose daughter was 14 at the time [TuneCore Podcast, November 12, 2006].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:43 pm

OCTOBER 1998
'THIS I LOVE' CONSIDERED FOR THE SOUNDTRACK TO 'WHAT DREAMS MAY COME'


In 2005, studio engineer Dave Dominguez would reveal that the song 'This I Love' had been considered to be included on the soundtrack of the movie 'What Dreams May Come' in 1998 [sp1at, February 14, 2005].

Dominguez would say the song had been recorded when the band was touring Use Your Illusion:

"This I love" is actually an old GN'R song that the original GN'R wrote and recorded for the "Illusion" records I like that song a lot.. it took a couple of weeks to find all the tapes because they finished recording "Use Your Illusions" on the road and one tape was in Paris another in London and another in Sydney I believe.


Axl had previously mentioned the song in an interview done in December 1992:

I wrote and recorded a new love song that I want on the next record called This I Love, that's the heaviest thing that I've ever done.
Hit Parader, June 1993; but interview done in December 1992


In the quote above Axl would indicate 'This I Love' was one of his songs and according to Sp1at, Howard Karp, who would work on the song in 2000, described the song as a "simple piano ballad" [Sp1at, February 14, 2005].

Dawn Soler, musical supervisor for 'What Dreams May Come', would state to Sp1at that Axl was "really into the film" but that the director of the movie, Vincent Ward, decided against its inclusion on the soundtrack [Blabbermouth, February 21, 2005].

[This I Love] was definitely a love song...very heartfelt, it would have fit perfectly with 'What Dreams May Come'.


In 2019, Dominguez would describe what had happened in more detail:

Mike Clink called me and said, “Hey, the producers for this Robin Williams movie are coming down at some point and they want Guns to record a song for it, a song called This I Love. But we gotta find the tapes. I was like, “Okay,” because I guess they had written it and recorded it during the Illusions tour. Because I don’t know if you knew this, [...] Illusions wasn’t finished when they hit that tour, so Mike would fly with them and they would finish it up in different cities. So I remember getting four tapes, one from Australia, one was in England, the other was, like, somewhere in Wisconsin...

So they’d come in and they were from different parts. So when they finally got there, Axl – that was Axl who was really involved with that – said, “Hey,” he called me up. “Hey, don’t you come in?” “Yeah.” So he came in and goes, “This is what I’m looking for.” And I found the... because then there’s always a master tape, which has usually drums, rhythm guitars, bass and a scratch vocal; and then the rest are slaves, which have different parts. So they had, like, three different slaves. He was like, “There’s a certain part of the song that I want, that I really like, so you gotta find the right tape”. So I put it up and he was like, “Yeah, that’s it.” And it was a beautiful song. I guess it ended up on Democracy, but just the title. It’s a whole different song. [...] I remember I listened to it - I haven’t listened to Democracy in quite a while, but I go, “Oh, this isn’t the exact...” Because that was a piano ballad. [...] It was a ballad, it was a really cool song. So a guy, Kenny (?), who I mentioned earlier, who was around at the time, had become, like, my assistant during that, he would come in and he’d help me out.

I’m sure you’ve heard the famous Axl stories about him just being out of control and being, you know, rude, just yelling... Well, I never really got any of that, personally. He always treated me great, and he treated my family great, and he was always awesome. The only time he ever did really get upset with me was during that session. At the end of that song, This I Love, he was repeating the... oh what was his girlfriend? Stephanie Seymour. It was like “I love you, Stephanie” or “This I love, Stephanie.” He was, like, whispering it at the end of the song. And he heard it and he goes, “Just erase all that.” I was like, “Do you want me to back it up?” “No, erase it!” And he yelled and walked out of the room. So Kenny there, the assistant, and I said, “We’re gonna erase something GNR fans are never ever gonna hear. Like, they’re never gonna hear this.” That to me was like, “Wow, this is crazy. This is a GNR song that no one’s ever heard and no one is ever gonna hear this again.” I looked at him, “Are you ready?” And I put the tracks in the recorder and I erased it. [...]

It was pretty intense. That was the first time he got upset - I think the only time he ever got upset with me. And I was like - because I didn’t know. I was like, “Do you wanna back it up, just in case?” You know, I was gonna lock it to the A-DAT and back it up, so anybody could put it back. And he was like, “No.” I go, “Alright...” And I just remember, like, that was the only time I had butterflies on my stomach. I didn’t wanna erase the wrong thing. So he left the room, and I said, “I need ten minutes.” I would’ve probably only needed two minutes to do it, but I wanted to verify I was erasing the right thing. It was like, I did triple-quadruple checking, like, “this is it, here we go.” Yeah, that was pretty crazy.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:43 pm

OCTOBER 27, 1998
'WELCOME TO THE VIDOES' IS RELEASED


On October 27, 1998, Geffen Home Video would release a 70-minute compilation of music videos from Guns N' Roses [Press release, October 19, 1998]. The video would contain the following 13 music videos: "Welcome to the Jungle," "November Rain," "Estranged," "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Paradise City," "Patience," "Don't Cry," "Live and Let Die," "Yesterdays," "Garden of Eden," "The Garden," "Dead Horse," and "Since I Don't Have You".


Welcome to the Videos
October 27, 1998


In October 2003, a DVD version of Welcome to the Videos would be released [Press Release, October 15, 2003].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:44 pm

DECEMBER 10, 1998
GEFFEN RECORDS IS MERGED WITH INTERCSOPE


On December 10, 1998, Seagram acquired Polygram from Phillips and in the process merged Universal Music Group (from Seagram) with Polygram's music holdings [The New York Times, December 21, 1998]. Geffen Records, who had been underperforming for some time [Los Angeles Times, May 31, 1997] were part of Universal music group and now became part of Interscope [The New York Times, December 21, 1998]. As a result of the restructuring, Seagram's management pledged to cut costs and save $300 million annually and it was expected that two-thirds of the rosters at each label will be dropped outright [The New York Times, December 21, 1998].

In the end, 110 Geffen employees, including Ed Rosenblatt, were fired [The New York Times, March 6, 2005]. Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope, would now be tasked with getting Chinese Democracy out [The New York Times, March 6, 2005]. According to The New York Times, Axl was "crushed by the departure of his Geffen contacts [The New York Times, March 6, 2005].

James Barber, Geffen A&R and producer, would later discuss how the transaction affected Geffen:

I should make something very clear: Seagram closed Geffen Records in January 1999. All of the artists and a handful of the staff were moved over to Interscope. The ‘Geffen’ label that exists today is basically the old MCA Records with a new logo. There’s almost zero connection to the company that I worked at in the 90s.

What happened to Geffen? Seagram tried to impose corporate values on a culture that thrived on extreme personalities and near anarchy. The A&R staff that built the company was dismantled and those of us left behind were expected to focus more on corporate protocol than making great records.

The record business is a lousy business if you’re looking for a predictable return on investment. All the corporations that bought into music in the 90s failed to understand that great music was the primary reward for running a record company. Sure you could make a ton of money, but the money was sort of a side effect. Once the people running Geffen had to concentrate on spreadsheets and business plans instead of making the next ‘Paradise City’ or ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ the company was doomed.

Jimmy Iovine totally mystifies me. He’s been able to transcend all of the corporate bullshit and just keep being Jimmy. I don’t like all the records he makes or how he treats a lot of his artists, but he’s the last man standing, the only person who gets to make records exactly the way he wants in a corporate environment.


This merger meant that Slash's second Snakepit album would be released on Interscope, a change he felt a bit disconcerting:

You sort of just roll with it and deal with it as realistically as possible, and maintain your own personal integrity as far as your music and the decisions you make. You hope you're smart enough to play the game your way and still work within the confines of the industry. […]

I'm going to miss a lot of the Geffen people because that's family. That's the only thing I regret about it.


Later, Axl would complain about not getting as much support from his record company as he wanted:

No, I'm not skeptical about, like “if” [the record comes out]. I'm just saying the “when” thing is when we decide that it's completed. There's a lot of things that - we come up with new ideas that we're working on as we go, and it is a really, really slow process, because it's kind of left more to ourselves in trying to figure it out; where, you know, what I've seen in this industry is that, if a record company… I don't know. There seems to be a lot more support for getting things done with newer bands, and it's got a lot to do with contracts being, you know, they don't have to spend as much money on the band and they're trying to get it out there, and the next thing you know, they've sold a couple of albums and then they don't care about that band anymore and they move on, and that band falls apart. It doesn't seem like there's a lot of support for bands that have been around. That's my experience. So in putting this thing together, in a lot of ways I've had to do way more jobs in it than I'm supposed to — I've had to be manager, A&R man, producer, sole lyric writer and a lot of things; where Guns N’ Roses to me, what I worked really hard at was making it a collaborative effort, and it was a lot of people involved. This is a collaborative effort with the players, but the players aren't exactly sure what it should be to try to win over the world Guns N’ Roses style. So that's kind of my responsibility. Anyway, but it's all working.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:45 pm

JANUARY 1999
SLASH, DUFF AND MATT PLAY TOGETHER AT THE SLAMDANCE FESTIVAL


In January 1999, Slash would reunite with Duff and Matt for a club gig at the Slamdance film festival [Sonic Net, February 1, 1999]. The show would include several Matt compositions from the Slamdance film, "Soundman", as well as covers of the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan [Sonic Net, February 1, 1999].

Before we left, people were saying... it's on the Internet, it's in 'Variety' that Guns is back together to play.



And that's just like so far away from anything that's true. We're just here to play. It's not that big of a deal, but we play good together.

[Slam dance was very] fun. Matt worked on the soundtrack for a movie and he arranged all the songs and musicians. I sang a song and Slash played guitar. I don't know if you've seen the movie, it's a low-budget, independent movie that was accepted in Sundance Festival. So we went and played at the movie party. It was just us letting loose, playing and having fun.


When asked why they didn't just make a new band, Duff responded:

I believe this will happen. And I think that would be fabulous. We’re very close friends as well as with Izzy. We’re in daily contact. Slash, Matt and myself played at the Slamdance Film Festival [in Park City, Utah]. You can’t create a good feeling between three or four people. It has to be already there. And when we played together, not only was there the feeling, but also a big energy. Those who attended that show probably remember it cause it was really powerful. We felt so good on-stage that the music just seemed to flow. It was one of those magic nights....


Being asked whether it isn't "unfair to play this semi-Guns concert, given that the band’s not complete":

We play together very often and what would be unfair would be to ask us to stop doing it. It would be like forbidding a kid to go play outside with his friends or telling him, if his parents were divorced, that he had to stop seeing one of them. But I think that, if we don’t want to form a band right now, it’s because we want to get away from that Guns image. We’d like to prove to ourselves that we are musicians.


Then in the end of January, Duff was scheduled to play at the Whisky in Los Angeles together with Gilby, Tracii and Teddy (Zig Zag) Andreas [MTV News, January 29, 1999].

Also in early 1999, Slash would again talk about his work with other ex-GN'R members:

I'll hook up with Matt sometimes if he's got a gig going on and he needs me, or vice-versa, if I need to get in touch with Duff for something, or Izzy for that matter. We just hook up and play because we dig doing it.


But late in 1999, Slash would indicate that there were no interest from anyone to reform in a new band:

No one of the members include Izzy and Steven are not thinking of reforming so far. But this doesn't mean the end. This doesn't mean we won't do anything from now on. I don't know what I'm going to do if one of the members wants to do something together. But no one is planning the day of reforming, even Axl. Because he has his own band GN'R.
BURRN! Magazine, 1999; translated from Japanese


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:45 pm

1998-1999
PLANNING A LIVE ALBUM


RECORDING LIVE SHOWS


The band had been recording many of their live shows throughout its history:

Yeah, we’ll doubtless record and video shows on the next tour. In fact, we’ve already done some dates in Japan that way.


All shows from the Use Your Illusion Tour were recorded with the plan being a live album [RAW, June 23, 1993].

We recorded every single show we did and there is a… You know, we've talked for a long time about compiling something out of that. I have no idea… I mean, then again, it could sound like crap. [laughs] We don't know.

Basically we're just waiting to find somebody who has the patience to sit trough it. [laughs].



1998-1999: RELEASING A LIVE RECORD


By late 1998, the band was discussing a live release:



However, Bryn Bridenthal, director of publicity at Geffen Records and still connected to the ongoing version of Guns N' Roses, would refer to a live album as a "fantasy concept" [Rolling Stone, November 14, 1998]:

Axl can only do one thing at a time. When he focuses, he really focuses well, but he sometimes can't see outside the periphery of his laser.


In December it would be speculated that Geffen would try to force a live record if Axl and Guns N' Roses wasn't ready to release a new album [MTV News, December 2, 1998].

In July 1999, Slash would shed some light on this project, informing that mixer Andy Wallace had been selected and would work on mixing tracks for the live album from July 12 to July 29 [MTV News, July 9, 1999]. According to the same report, Axl would be working with another producer for the tracks that involve vocals [MTV News, July 9, 1999]. A spokesperson for Slash would stress that this initial work was only "exploratory" and that a live album was not a done deal yet [MTV News, July 9, 1999].

Later, an anonymous source would say that Slash and Duff, and Axl has worked on shift so to not meet each other during the work:

It was all very odd. Slash and Duff would get together and work on it, and Axl would be sent CDs. He never came to the studio when they were there. It was done in shifts.

Even though I wasn’t in the band anymore, I was there for the mixing, just to make sure it was as honest a representation of GNR live as I thought it should be.


In August it would be rumoured that the re-recorded version of 'Sweet Child O' Mine' that was featured on the 'Bid Daddy' soundtrack [see other chapter], would also be included on the new live album [Metal Hammer, August 13, 1999]. This turned out to not be true.

It would also be rumoured that it might be a double album [Rolling Stone, September 2, 1999].

Andy Wallace, the album's producer, would comment on the material:

It definitely has a live feel, but it's well-recorded and well-played. They were great live and had a lot of concerts to work from.


The tracks would be taken from concerts in Tokyo, Las Vegas and Mexico City [Rolling Stone, September 2, 1999].

In September, it would be reported that Geffen intended to have the live album out by Christmas [Metal Hammer, September 1999].

Then, in November 1999, Axl would talk about the live album and agree that it was a "farewell to [an] era":

It is exactly that. It's a farewell to that.... It was something we wanted to give to the public in a way of saying farewell. It was a very difficult thing to do, as listening to it and the people involved... [it] wasn't the most emotionally pleasant thing to do. […] For me, when I hear certain things on the "Use Your Illusion" tour, I... on that record, it's... since I'm in it, I can hear a band dying. I can hear when Izzy was unconsciously over it. I can hear where the band was leaning away from what Guns N' Roses [had] originally been about.

People may have their favorite songs, and it may be on "Use Your Illusion," but most people do tend to lean towards "Appetite" as being the defining Guns N' Roses record, and I can hear how, in the sound, it was moving away from that there. There's just so much I was able to do in keeping that aspect together.


Del James had been in charge with collecting live tapes to sift through to find quality versions of songs to be included on the album:

Del James worked for a couple of years off and on going though every single show we did on DAT tape from the "Use Your Illusion" tour and then every available tape, and finding tapes, and finding people that have recorded things, so he could have in his mind what was recorded best from the entire time Guns N' Roses was together. There were a lot of difficulties where things weren't... when they were recorded, when they were fully recorded to 24, 48 tracks, it wasn't recorded that well at times, and so it took a long time to find what tracks were available to use, because we had never officially recorded a show to make a live album.


Discussing the live version of 'It's alright' that is included as an intro to 'November Rain' on the album:

Oh, that's on the live [album]. I just like the piano song ["It's Alright"] and the words, and when you play it for people, they had no idea it was a Black Sabbath song. So it was just kind of fun, and then it worked out as a intro to "November Rain" live, and it just so happened that [it] came out well on tape, so we were able to use it.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:45 pm

1999-
SLASH ON REUNITING WITH AXL IN GUNS N' ROSES



1997/1998? - SLASH RETURNED BRIEFLY?


As previously discussed, initially Slash considered the breakup between him and Axl to possibly only be temporarily. And interestingly, in late 2000 Slash indicated he had briefly returned to the band 2-3 years ago:

I went back two or three years ago. They called me up, but nothing much had really changed. No one knew what was going on...



1999-2003: SLASH IS OPEN TO IT


And in early 1999, Slash would again reiterate that he could join Guns N' Roses again if Axl would just ask him [Sonic Net, February 1, 1999]:

If Axl was to break down and finally realize what the meat and potatoes of Guns N' Roses always has been, I'm only a phone call away.

When Axl’s head is together and he decides to put the band together, I’ll be around. It’ll be a lot more fun then.

I still play with Duff, with Matt, and with Izzy from time to time. I keep in touch with pretty much everybody. And I don't want to say that I don't miss working with Axl. I just miss working with him under the circumstances that I would consider optimum.

Basically, there’s been so many offers to do gigs that I would have done, but it’s just when he decides to either finish his version of Guns N’ Roses at this point, because there’s not any members of Guns N’ Roses in the band. [...] but him. He needs to finish that, because, I mean, we’re all sitting back going, “So what was it that you broke the real band up for?”


And Slash would say he was open to a one-off but claim that Axl would never do it:

We broke up, period. It's different story if we agreed to reform for only one show in the future, but we will need huge effort to make it happen. There is a chance if it happens like that. That's OK with me if that will be next week. I don't care about the timing, because those shitty things fucked up us. And it has to be original members. But I think AXL would rather shoot himself than reforming with original members. He has hatred to ex-members. I hope he wakes up and smell the roses. Even if he wakes up, he needs huge change to make me and other members understand.
BURRN! Magazine, 1999; translated from Japanese


In July 2000, Slash would be asked if he would be willing to play on one song on Chinese Democracy and not rule it out:

I doubt it. (tension and not having a clear picture of the overall kind of music the band is working in. Snakepit is busy right now.).


And respond to rumours about the Appetite lineup being back together and secretly working on a new album:

Guns N' Roses has ended. The rumors you hear about the band getting back together are just rumors. There is no official truth to a new GNR album being made. While some of us are willing to get back together for a show or short tour, not all of us are. So it won't happen without all of us. Even a show does not look very likely right now


They had already been offered millions to reunite:

If someone comes up to me and asks me if GN’R is going to get back together, I say that if it was the original band and if everybody could straighten their heads out enough to be in the same room to do it, then I would do one show if the situation was right. We’ve been offered millions of dollars to re-group. Originally, I thought, ‘Shit! A couple of days of rehearsal and then go out and play in front of a really excited, enthusiastic audience? Might be fun.' But when we recorded a Stones song (Sympathy for the devil for the Interview with a vampire soundtrack), Axl didn’t even show up. So everybody lost interest. If it was the original band, and Steven Adler could get his shit back together, which I know he’s been trying to do since time began, since I still talk to him all the time. But, the chances of that happening are pretty much nil.

I wouldn’t quit what I’m doing now to go back to Guns for any amount of money. It’s not about the money.

We've had so many offers to do gigs, and none of us has done it for the money. But if the band wanted to get together and go, 'You know what? Let's just hash it out for a second and then see where that takes us,' I would go and do a show. F--k, yeah. I mean, what would it take to go into three, four, six, 12 hours of rehearsal for one, two, three, four, five shows with Guns, with guys I f--king basically lived with for God knows how long. I would do it in a heartbeat. […] The underlying thing is that we have to be straight [with each other]. That's the only reason why we did it in the first place--we were clear on why we were doing it.

I would come for a reunion of GNR if it were the original band.

I don’t see it in the foreseeable future.

[Being asked about working with Axl again]: Probably not.

You know what? Everybody keeps talking about it. Chances are, I don't see it in the foreseeable future (laughs). There's too much bullshit. I mean if somebody goes, “Hey, you know what? There's a weekend here, or a weekend there. You guys want to all get together and fucking go and do these two shows here at such and such a place or whatever”, I'd be like, well, first things first. It's got to be the original band and then you've got to get us all into one room and, schedules permitting, I have no fucking intention of slowing down what I'm doing with Snakepit. I'm saying that, but, more so than anything, I think the person that would rather not have that happen would be Axl. That's the whole reason this all started in the first place.

For the fans and for the excitement of the whole thing, if it was the original band and we all had some sort of meeting of the minds and we were going to do one show and schedules permitting . . . you know, I’ll be around. It’s not like I’m going anywhere. But I don’t have time to wait around for it for any reason other than just doing it for fun.

[Being asked if all it would take was a phone call]: I can say that, because that's easier said then done. In order to get an original Guns N' Roses band together, it'd be almost impossible. But, if the situation happened to arise where we all just happened to magically come to a meeting of the minds and just wanted to do a show, or two shows, or something like that… But doing a record, I'm not going to do drop what I'm doing now, it's been too fucking long. I had too much of a bad time with Guns at the tail end, anyway. We had offers to do so many shows that kids missed out on, we didn't do them because Axl didn't want to do them.

A reunion? I wouldn't do a Guns gig unless the entire original lineup was there and it would be one show -- yeah, cool. Reunion gigs are... What's the word I'm looking for? Uh, it's cliché. For me to quit anything is a big thing in and of itself. So when I quit, I quit. As far as I'm concerned, I quit when it was still cool -- [with] still some semblance of cool left. I did what I had to do. We just went in different directions.

It would probably take a couple of months of psychotherapy just to get us into a room together. [...] No, actually it’s not on a bad note. We just don’t seem to agree on anything. It’s simple as that.

Um, not in the foreseeable future. I don’t think anybody in the band is really interested, except if Axl’s doing it, you know? But I just saw Izzy, and I just saw Duff, and I just saw Steven. And it was like, we all had to, like, just move on. It wasn’t a matter of, “Oh, come on man, let’s get the Guns N’ Roses thing back together.” It’s not even really an issue. When I quit, which is hard for me to quit anything - when I quit I wasn’t kidding, so it was five years ago and it’s like... anyhow. I hate being reminded about it, because (?) I don’t know what to tell you, I left.

If I was still in that band I'd be dead by now. I couldn't handle the no activity... whatever it is that is going on that takes this long, I couldn't handle. I'm way too hyper - got to go out and rock, got to do something. […] One of the reasons I left was because it wasn't the same band as I got into. I might get a sort of twinge of passion if the band was playing something I used to love to play, that's human. But the whole essence of what Guns is about and the whole reason for getting onstage together - the camaraderie, that gang like mentality that makes a band is so gone that I don't see myself going 'Wow - I miss this'. There's not one other fucker in the band I even know.

Nah... I mean, in the foreseeable future, no. Cuz it’s been so long since that was even really a concept. And I see all the other guys in the band all the time. I haven’t seen Axl, but I’ve seen Izzy, and Duff, and Matt, and Steven...

Listen, anything you can imagine, it’s already come up, OK? Three years ago, while we were sitting round trying to make a connection, there were offers to do things for incredible amounts of money. I mean, so much money where anybody would have taken them on.

Or you’d get that thing: why don’t we just play some clubs? And you know me, I’ll try anything. But from an emotional level, we just weren’t ever coming down on the right page.

[...]

That was three years ago. At this point, not for any amount of money, man. I love what I'm doing now. And I want to keep it grounded, with other guys who know me from my bullshit.

It would be fun on a weekend, maybe. But it would have to be the original band. But it's not gonna happen. Axl and I haven't talked for five years. I avoid the whole thing now. I don't want that huge low, where nobody is doing anything, it's one of the major dangers for me.

[...]

We get an offer to do Guns all the time. But who wants to do one of those 10-minute rehearsal things? It would be like when Page and Plant did that Zeppelin gig on TV [the infamously untogether Atlantic Records anniversary show in 1990]. It could all go... blah.

It’s like [a reunion of GN’R] wouldn’t happen. If it were going to happen it would be for a second, just so that the guys -- all sort of being more or less still friends -- could go "Hey! Hi!" and then play like a song. But it’s so not that. […] The thing is, when it ended, it was a series of events that made it end. When I got out of it I was just like, okay that’s a chapter done! I can’t foresee it all coming back together and being what it once was. That’s my whole attitude.

When I split, it was like getting divorced. It was like, OK — that's over. It was never even a consideration. The only regret I have with GNR is that there were a lot of kids sitting around going what the fuck happened? I can't see it ever coming back. Nobody's that interested.

Without a couple of years of psychotherapy, I don't see it coming. It's been six years for me, and longer for others. Izzy -- I won't even bring Izzy into the whole thing (laughs).

I should never say never. But it would take a few solid months of psychotherapy just to be even able to do an impromptu jam. I'm good friends with all the guys in the band, and I keep in touch with them regularly. But when I was forced to quit that band, it was like a divorce. I haven't talked to (lead singer) Axl (Rose) in six years.

[Being asked if he thinks he will ever play with Axl again]: Is this a Guns N’ Roses interview, or is this a Snakepit interview? […] I’ve answered that question a million times. I don’t have any foreseeable plans to work with Guns N’ Roses again. And that’s not just me talking; that’s everyone in the band talking. That’s the bottom line.

Now, I would never say never. If I got a phone call and they told me all the original members were going to cut one song, and everyone else had agreed to that and I was the last guy who needed to answer, I’d say, ‘OK, but what’s the real deal? Because I’m not gonna quit my (expletive) day job.’ And it would have to be all the original guys, and it would have to be really short term. But I wouldn’t want to make a terrible Guns N’ Roses album, and that’s where we were headed. To me, that would have been a lot worse than the fact that we broke up.

Well, that's the question everybody asks. I suppose if it were one show or one project, maybe. But it's hard to say. I'm happy right where I am.

Well, this is my answer for that: if he all of a sudden... First things first. He’s got to get this Guns N’ Roses record. It’s been six years since I quit. If I’d never quit, I’d be pushing daisies right now. I mean, I just can’t handle not working for that long amount of period of time, whatever you want to call it. But if I was to get a phone call going, you know, “Axl wants to make a record,” I’d be like, “You get all the original guys together and then we go through six or seven months of therapy [laughter] and get rid of all this baggage, not to mention get rid of the whole Guns N’ Roses sort of business entourage that’s so screwed up. Then it’s possible, let’s maybe do a song for a movie or something like that. […] And there just got to a point where there’d be like, we get huge dollar amount offers to do one show in Budapest or something like that...


Jack Douglas, Slash's producer on 'Ain't Life Grand', would also comment:

Enormous pressure, like 100 million dollars worth. And [Slash is] not against it, if Axl goes back to being the Axl that he loves.
KNAC.COM, February 28, 2000


In late 2001 Slash would try to attend a Guns N' Roses show and say he would be happy to play a song with the new band [see later section]. This happened around the same time it would be reported that Slash had disbanded Snakepit, and it is hard to not interpret this as Slash making a move to possibly reunite with Axl.

In mid-2002 Slash would again reiterate that he would do it with the original band:

I have no regrets about anything. If all the original members wanted to do it again, I'd do it.



2003-2005: VELVET REVOLVER IS HAPPENING, SLASH CLOSES THE DOOR


With Velvet Revolver becoming a reality and Axl having moved on with his new version of Guns N' Roses, Slash closed the door to reuniting:

There will never come a time when we all get together and play under the name Guns ‘N Roses because it’s too f—ing tainted. If he’d done the solo thing, then we could have gotten together and jammed for one show. Now it’s like, over with. He screwed that up.

To be honest, I don't [think GN'R will reunite], but I'd be and idiot if I said that it'll never happen, because if it ever happens I'll be seen as an idiot. But it is not something in which I pay much attention to at the moment, I'm very busy with Velvet Revolver and I hope this keeps me busy for a long time. Besides, I don't think Axl will ever change his attitude, so I don't know. One of the reasons why I left the band was because it had become a weightload more than something I enjoyed.

I don’t think that’s ever been for me to say. That’s a question that should be directed at Axl. I haven’t even spoken to him in about eight years, so I have no idea where his head is at right now. All I know is that I’m very excited about Velvet Revolver, and that’s where my total focus is at the moment. It’s gonna have to be something very special for me to change that focus - even for a short while.

I haven't talked to him since I quit. I don't really see a reunion happening. The things that are keeping us apart are so much tougher than money. [...] But now ]Axl]'s dragged [the name] through the mud so much that even if he said, 'Look guys, I've been to therapy and I'm a better person now, let's get back together and do a show,' we'd all be like, we don't want to be in that band. [...] No amount of money will make that happen. It's a relationship that's too human, too delicate and too volatile to have money manipulate it. There was a period where people said, 'Why not do one show?' And I'd say, when you get him straightened out, then we can talk about doing a show, but right now it's just not my priority. I'm not really waiting around for Axl to get his head together.

I don’t think it’s an issue between – I don’t think Axl would do it. I know we wouldn’t do it. [...] The money’s been unreal.

Basically, it’s not something that’s going to happen. If Axl wanted that to happen, there’s no way I’d respond in a positive way. We’re in for the long haul with Velvet Revolver. I’m happy, man. I have everything I need. Why would I need GN’R back in my life? I don’t need the grief.

No matter how much money they stick in our face, there’s no reason for us to get together to do anything, unless we have some sort of mutual understanding or respect, and we’re way, way far from that (laughs). So I don’t see it any time in the foreseeable future.

But now [Axl]'s dragged [the band name] through so much mud that even if he said "Look, guys. I've been in therapy and I'm a better person. Let's reunite and do a gig", we would never want to be in that band again. It is completely destroyed.
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

[Talking about what it would take to reunite:] I probably have to stop talking shit about him (laughs). I'm not thinking about it anymore. It's not on my list. I know it's on many other people's lists, not least for financial reasons. [...] Everybody could need that much money. But it is not the money that decides. It is a relationship that is far too human, too delicate and too sensitive for it to be manipulated by money. [...] if you fix him, if you get him on the right keel, make him behave ... Then we can talk about ONE gig. At least that's how I felt before. But now, after Velvet got started ... It simply does not exist in my sphere of mind anymore. I'm not waiting any longer for Axl to capture his senses.
Aftonbladet, July 9, 2004; translated from Swedish

The thing is, Axl’s never going to ring me (laughs). You think that’s a shame? You know, it seems like all of a sudden the falling out happened, but we started having a really fucking hard time of it after the Appetite For Destruction tour was over and we started to regroup to make another record.

Axl established in his mind a certain kind of… what’s the best word for it? ...he established a distance from the bare bones, blue-collar guys that everybody else was. He’d become some other entity and we could never bring him back to earth and it just became such a difficult thing that the whole making of that record and the whole fucking tour was just such a chore. We made the best of it, but it got to the point where it was just too fucking far gone to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

There’s no part of me that wishes that the original Guns N’ Roses could or would reform but I can say that the original GN’R line-up was probably one of the best rock ’n’ roll bands that’s come over the years. It was a classic fucking time.

When I left Guns I was very resentful about some of the shit that another human being put me through,. Then a few years later people were saying, 'Oh, they'll get back together, like Aerosmith'. But it wasn't like that. The animosity was such that he'd have to go back and really change, and make me think there was something redeemable - which I don't see happening.

There was also a point where the big money offers started coming in. And I was like, 'You know what? Go talk to him! He might care about the money but he's not going to right all of the wrongs he's done. He's not even going to admit it, so until that happens I don't care if someone puts six million dollars in front of me. You go talk to him'. And they all went over to Axl and never got any response and I was like, 'That's what I'm talking about!'.

And now we've got this going on and it feels better than anything I've done since the first two years of Guns, so it's not even a remote possibility any more.

Everybody asks me [about a reunion]. I left Guns N' Roses in '96, six years before this band started. And never in a million years gave that a thought. So at this point, it's almost insulting.



2005: GILBY SUGGESTS SLASH WANTS TO REUNITE


In June 2005, Gilby would suggest that Slash wasn't as into Velvet Revolver because he really wanted to be back in Guns N' Roses:

Well it's just...(laughing) ah man, well I get the feeling they aren't really into it.. like Slash and Duff, mostly Slash. I mean Slash is playing, but he's not really PLAYING. Listen to the record dude, is that really Slash? I just kind of feel at times his heart isn't really into what that band is doing, like he's going through the motions. Man I'm gonna get myself into trouble (Laughing)

Shit... (laughing). Look I'm sure if they could both sit down and talk and smooth things over it would happen, but the chances of that happening are slim and none, and slim just left the building. But yeah, I mean.. in the back of their minds they BOTH want to get the thing back together. See Axl and Slash hate each other, at the same time I think they know they... uhhh.....complete each other... wow that sounded lame, but yeah.


When asked about a reunion, Axl would imply it was unlikely but take the opportunity to say nice things about Slash:

I haven't spoken to Slash in ten years. I love the guy, I always wanted everyone to know how great he was, but.... I was just talking to Izzy the other day though.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:46 pm

JANUARY 1999
RUMOURS ABOUT GUNS HEADLINING SUMMER FESTIVALS OF 1999


In early 1999 it would be claimed Guns N' Roses were considering headlining Lollapalooza '99 after having received an offer from organizers at the William Morris Agency [Rolling Stone, January 17, 1999]. But in the end of January, Ted Gardner, co-director of Lollapalooza, would state that no offers had been sent out to bands yet [Los Angeles Times, January 31, 1999].

The band had allegedly also received an offer from the annual OzzFest tour [Rolling Stone, January 17, 1999].

A source close to the band would say, "we wouldn't be discussing it if we didn't think they could [get an album out in time for the tour to start] [Rolling Stone, January 17, 1999].

In April it would be rumoured that Guns N' Roses were close to signing on as one of the headliners for Woodstock '99 [Los Angeles Times, April 1, 1999]. Then, a few days later, it was reported that Guns N' Roses would not headline Woodstock, because they simply wouldn't be ready with their album in time [Rolling Stone, April 4, 1999]. Then a few days later, Michael Lang, one of the co-producers of the event would claim it was 50/50 whether Guns N' Roses would be there, and:

It would depend on how well they are coming along with the recordings and whether they're ready to do it. They very much want to.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:46 pm

JANUARY-AUGUST 1999
WORKING ON NEW MUSIC


In early 1999 the band was said to be back in the studio after a Christmas break [MTV News, January 8, 1999]. Insiders said to expect a "strong album with a big sound" [MTV News, January 8, 1999].

In mid-1999 there would be rumours that Axl was presenting unfinished tracks to the label [Spin, July 1999].

There would also be rumours there was tension between Paul and Tommy, because, as a source would have it, Paul "has the whole Guns attitude but he's never toured" [Spin, July 1999].

Youth, who had been involved as a possible producer for the band in the first half of 1988, would mention that Axl had been working on a song called 'Prostitute' but that he was struggling in the studio:

They sold millions of records in a few years. He had a big crew of people in the studio ... and I think that kind of pressure chokes creativity.


Later, when asked if Prostitute was one of the stronger songs on the album, Brain would reply:



Around the same time, Chris Vrenna would speculate on how the record would sound:

I have a feeling it's gonna be more like Appetite than people are expecting.


In February, Tommy would say he wasn't allowed to talk about the work they were doing, but still say that:

This is the hardest I’ve worked on a record.


In April, sources would claim the band was almost finished [E! News Online, April 2, 1999].

In early June, The New York Daily News would claim that the record was getting closer and might be out by November, in the words of a "source close to" Axl:

November is looking possible. ... Axl [Rose] swears he’s going to deliver a record by late fall. The head guys at Interscope have heard what he’s doing, and everybody’s pretty excited - and they haven’t even heard the vocals. The tracks have been recorded for a long time, but Axl’s just starting to lay down the vocals.


Around the same time, Moby would offer some advice to the band:

My advice to them would be to stop worrying about it and just make a record. Go into the studio for a month and at the end of the month, your record has to be finished. Go in and play and have fun and sing songs and don't worry about selling billions of records, just have fun and make a nice record. At this point, they've spent so many years on it, and they don't seem to be any closer to actually having a finished record.
MTV News, June 8, 1999[/url]


In August Kerrang! would present possible song titles: 'Prostitute', 'Cock-a-roach Soup', 'This I Love', 'Suckerpunched', 'No Love Remains', 'Friend Or Foe', 'Zip It', 'Something Always', 'Hearts Get Killed' and 'Closing In On You' [Kerrang! August 21, 1999]. The magazine would also list possible titles for the album: 'Cockroach Soup' or '2000 Intentions' [Kerrang! August 21, 1999]. These titles were all taken from an unknow earlier source.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:47 pm

MAY 1999
GUNS N' ROSES ON THE 'HEAVY METAL F.A.K.K. 2' SOUNDTRACK?


In May 1999, it was reported that Bruce Berman, music supervisor for the soundtrack to the movie "HEAVY METAL F.A.K.K. 2", was in discussion with Axl to include a new Guns N' Roses song in the movie [MTV News, May 24, 1999]. The movie would never be released.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:47 pm

JUNE 25, 1999
A NEW VERSION OF 'SWEET CHILD' IS FEATURED IN THE 'BIG DADDY' MOVIE


As discussed previously [see earlier chapter], when Youth came in as a producer one of the first things he said he had done, was dissuade the band from re-record Appetite for Destruction. Despite this, in June 1999, 'Big Daddy', the new Adam Sandler movie, would feature a new version of 'Sweet Child O' Mine' [MTV News, July 9, 1999]. During the closing credits of the movie, a hybrid version of the song would be played, starting with the original version and morphing into a new version [MTV News, July 9, 1999]. In addition, at the start of the song, Axl is heard repeating the word "Figaro", which was a last-minute addition "for fun," according to Lori Lahman, a musical supervisor for the movie [MTV News, July 9, 1999].


Big Daddy
June 25, 1999


Later it would be claimed that Axl had wanted to include a new version of the song on the soundtrack, but Slash and Duff had refused to allow this and hence instead a hybrid song would end up playing during the end credits and not be included on the soundtrack [CDNow/Allstar, January 8, 2002].


IT IS TRUE: APPETITE IS RE-RECORDED


Moby would claim that the new lineup had indeed recorded a new version of 'Appetite' [Kerrang! August 21, 1999] and Axl would later confirm this:

In fact, actually, I have re-recorded "Appetite" and-- […] Yes, I have [re-recorded Appetite for Destruction]. Yes [the whole album]. Well, with the exception of two songs, because we replaced those with "You Could Be Mine," and "Patience," and why do that? Well, we had to rehearse them anyway to be able to perform them live again, and there were a lot of recording techniques and certain subtle styles and drum fills and things like that that are kind of '80s signatures that subtly could use a little sprucing up... a little less reverb and a little less double bass and things like that.


And Axl would also list the musicians on the re-recording:

Josh Freese on drums, Tommy Stinson on bass, Paul Tobias on guitar -- you guys know him as Paul Huge, that's how it's been written everywhere. It's Paul Tobias on guitar, and Robin Finck was on lead guitar, but that... that will stay on some of it. Robin's guitar will stay on some, but not all.


And discuss his plans for the album:

I don't know what I'm going to do with it, exactly, when I would be putting that out. But you know, it has a lot of energy. Learning the old Guns songs and getting them up, you know, putting them on tape, really forced everybody to get them up to the quality that they needed to be at. Once the energy was figured out by the new guys, how much energy was needed to get the songs right, then it really helped in the writing and recording process of the new record.


Axl would also later comment on the band learning the old songs in connection with the band playing old GN'R songs at Rock in Rio 3 in January 2001:

Well, they are truly Guns N’ Roses in the sense that at first they didn’t want to (laughs). They didn't want to play the old songs that much, because they are their own musicians. In other words, they had a punk attitude like old Guns N' Roses. […] But then it became fun for them, and they began to really appreciate the songs and they really enjoy playing them.


Rumours would have it the reason Axl wanted to re-record Appetite was to be able to license out songs without having to pay royalties to the AFD lineup. Duff and Slash would comment:

l have nothing to say about that. I just wouldn't have an idea on where to start.

Oh, you don't ask me that particular question. I have nothing but negative things to say about something like that.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:48 pm

AUGUST 1999
ROBIN LEAVES THE BAND


I was done absolutely with tracks and songs I was writing and recording with Axl - tenfold. My work was really completed there.

_______________________________________

In August 1999, it would be reported that Robin had left Guns N' Roses [MTV News, August 4, 1999; Kerrang! August 21, 1999]. Allegedly, he had been hired on a two year contract and it had expired on August 1, 1999 [Allstarmag, August 4, 1999; Kerrang! August 21, 1999]. With no tour or new album in sight, sources said Robin returned to Nine Inch Nail who was planning to embark on a tour [MTV News, August 4, 1999].

Robin would comment on his decision to rejoin Nine Inch Nails:

I'd made the decision to come back before I'd heard the record, which is something I did intentionally. I'd been in contact loosely with mostly Danny [Lohner] through the past couple of years, so I knew what stage they were at and that they'd never replaced me - they'd never needed to for a live situation.

It was a difficult decision to make because I was so wrapped up in what I was doing at the time and I was proud of the work I'd done. But when it came down to it, I couldn't imagine NIN going out without me or with somebody else. I'm in a good place right now.

We wrote and rehearsed and argued and laboriously recorded several records worth of musical material, which to the best of my knowledge Axl is still finishing. But my work was through. We had dozens of finished songs, as far as I was concerned, and we were waiting for Axl to complete the songs.  So the timing was perfect. Nails were about to go on the road again, and I wanted to go out on the road with them.

I was with [Cirque de Soleil] for about a year and a half. I got a call from Axl. We’ve been working on the record but I will doubt that will come out any time soon. The drummer in A Perfect Circle (Josh Freese ) was also working with us. That’s basically what I was doing while Trent was doing the Fragile. I had kept in touch with with Danny, Trent and Charlie and my work was through with Axl. My time with Axl was up. I was excited to come back to NIN. It was right for me. It was right for Trent. The timing was uncanny.


Doug Goldstein would indicate Robin might return:

Robin [Finck] is doing his Nine Inch Nails thing and we have no idea how long that's gonna last.


Despite this Robin's contract being up, Axl would express surprise with Robin's departure:

Robin's departure was abrupt, sudden, you know, not expected but at the same time, it's turned out to be a good thing. We've been able to push some of the guitar parts a step farther, that had he been here, it's not something that would have been considered, and I wouldn't have been rude enough to attempt to do that. Robin did a great job, but we've been able to up the ante a little bit.


A spokesperson for the label would say:

Robin finished recording several albums worth of material with Guns N' Roses. Axl is now working on the vocals for the album.


Robin was excited about the work he had done while in Guns N' Roses:

I was with Axl for a little over two years, and we recorded dozens of songs together. I’m really proud of what we did as a band. I’m anxious to see how it’s completed.. [Will it be?]  Oh, yes [grinning]. You may depend on it.

I'd helped write and arrange and recorded enough songs for several records. Honestly, we recorded so many different song ideas and completed so many different types of songs — from quiet, very simple traditional piano songs to 16 stereo tracks of keyboard blur and everything in between.


In 2000 Robin would say he wasn't involved anymore and didn't know anything about release dates:

Each month that flips past is a month that I don’t really keep in touch with them. I don’t really know what is going to happen.


He would also indicate that he one of the reasons he had left because of the slow process, and especially the lack of lyrics:

It was great for a while, but then it became terribly frustrating not seeing anything completed because no lyrics were finished. It's one of the reasons I'm not there anymore. No one song was ever completed — and I was there for two and a half years. […] When he finishes the lyrics, I assume [the songs] are going to be released. I hope they turn out great. There's a lot of potential there.

My work with Axl was completed from my perspective. I’d been with him for 2 1/2 years and the band sounded great. I was writing and recording all these songs and we had several albums worth of material. It was really exciting for a while, but until I’d left, nothing was completed lyrically. So I was done. I was no longer inspired to spend 14 hours on track number 41 when track 40 wasn’t even finished.


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:49 pm

REPLACING ROBIN


Axl did not appear stressed by Robin's departure:

[…] we will be continuing to look for and or decide who the official new guitar player will be, but it's not that important to the band at this time, as that person's not really needed. There's not a whole lot for them to do at this time in regards to recording, as we've recorded [a] majority of material.


Yet Doug Goldstein would state that they were looking for replacements, and that Dave Navarro was still very much in the picture [Rolling Stone, November 9, 1999].

At some point in 1999, guitarist Stevie Salas would audition for the job:

Stevie jammed with the new Guns N' Roses line-up at a recording studio in Los Angeles. They played such classic songs as "Welcome To the Jungle," "Its So Easy, "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Paradise City" and "You Could Be Mine." The jam session went on for about 5 hours and reportedly they really rocked!

I spent an evening jammin with a band that was called Guns N' Roses, five hours at 300db. It was loud!!! But it wasn't the real Guns. There can't be a Guns without Slash! Keith and Mick (Rolling Stones) Steven and Joe (Aerosmith), Axl and Slash... That's the way it is! But Axl's new music was taking chances and I have to respect that.

As for GnR, jamming was mad fun. I must say I have played many stadiums and arenas in my life but i have never played as loud as i did with those guys that night but as I told people before it was a bit like a guns cover band playing the songs. I thought Bucket would not like it knowing him and I think the cd they were making then and the cd that will come out will be quite different. I think Axl was searching to be cutting edge but if you ask me Appetite is still as cutting edge as rock will ever hope to be.
Sp1at, February 21, 2005


When asked if he still kept in contact with Axl:

No Axl and I are not in touch, we are not friends at all, but i did email him recently so you never know!
Sp1at, February 21, 2005


And apparently, Marilyn Manson's guitarist, Zim Zum, was also offered the job:

At the end of Zim Zum's tour of duty as guitarist in Marilyn Manson he entered into self-imposed exile for a year in his Chicago home. He turned down offers to join a band which he describes as having "an appetite for destruction," along with record label offers before he even recorded a note.
Chart Attack, November 2000


Another guitarist who allegedly auditioned, and likely in 1999, was Nick Nolan:

Nolan said about five years ago he auditioned for Guns N' Roses, but singer Axl Rose's psychic, after pondering a photograph of Nolan, told Rose she didn't think he was right for the band.
The Times Herald, December 7, 2004


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:44 pm

AUGUST-OCTOBER 1999
WORKING ON NEW MUSIC


After leaving Robin would describe what they had written and recorded by the time he left:

We wrote and rehearsed and argued about, and laboriously recorded, dozens of songs in L.A. for several years. Of those songs, two fistfuls are musically finished.

We experimented with all kinds of methods of writing and recording songs, from traditional piano to traditional rock songs to too many tracks of way-too-stereo keyboard blurbs and everything in between.

Many lines have been crossed, way too many Fridays going, ‘Hmm?’

What actually makes it to the record, I don’t really know.

We recorded a lot of cool songs and potential tracks.


And:

[M]ost of the stronger songs that ended up on A-lists when I was there were huge rock songs, built for the masses, really guitar-driven.


This is in-line with Axl's comments that the first record would be more guitar-focused than the second [see other chapter].

Kerrang! would also speculate that Axl had recorded the album three times and that the production costs now exceeded $ 1,000,000 [Kerrang! August 21, 1999].

Josh was a busy session drummer while also working on the new Guns N' Roses record. Amongst other, he also worked with Chris Cornell at the time, who would talk about Josh and the new GN'R record:

Yeah, [Josh is] a busy guy. He was showing up playing from like noon to four, then he’d go off from like nine till four in the morning playing with Axl, and then he’d show up the next day when we needed him. He’s got lot of energy though, so he was OK. […] He’s also very, uh, word careful. We asked him certain questions [about the Guns record], but he knew what he should and shouldn’t talk about. I just wanted to know what it felt like for him to be playing ‘Sweet Child 0’ Mine’ with a band made out of all these punk rock guys and Axl, cos I think that’s really fucking weird, but it must be kind of cool. […] I think they actually have a lot of creative freedom with what they’re doing with Axl, they’re getting to write parts and stuff - and when he’d come to work with me it’s almost the opposite of what you would think. I would tell him exactly what to play when the song was finished.
Metal Hammer, October 1999


In September and October, Sonic Net would be doing surveys to gauge what the interest was from the public on Guns N' Roses. On the question, "Can Axl Rose successfully revive Guns n' Roses?", 70 % answered 'no' and only 30 % 'yes' [Sonic Net, September 9, 1999]. And on the question, "Can Guns N' Roses conquer the airwaves again?", 61 % answered 'no' and only 39 % answered 'yes' [Sonic Net, October 12, 1999].


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21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED Empty Re: 21. SEPTEMBER 1997-NOVEMBER 1999: JOSH AND TOMMY JOINS, ROBIN LEAVES, LIVE ERA IS RELEASED

Post by Soulmonster Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:41 am

NOVEMBER 2, 1999
'END OF DAYS' SOUNDTRACK WITH 'OH MY GOD'


In August 1999, it would be rumoured that Guns N' Roses might contribute a song to the soundtrack to the movie 'End of Days' [MTV News, August 8, 1999], and in September the rumours were confirmed [MTV News, September 8, 1999].

So on November 2, 1999, the world would finally hear new music from Guns N' Roses, just over 5 years since the band released 'Sympathy for the Devil.' Again, the music would be a one-off song intended for a movie soundtrack, this time for the movie 'End of Days'. The Guns N' Roses song was 'Oh My God' [MTV, November 8, 1999].

The song was initially claimed to have been written specifically by Axl after seeing an advance screening of the movie [MTV News, September 8, 1999].

G. Marc Roswell, the film's music supervisor, would state:

It’s absolutely classic Axl, but it has a lot of new elements. It fits the movie really well.




End of Days soundtrack
June 25, 1999


In connection with the release, Axl would release a statement:

So here's the story behind this music...

The chorus: OH MY GOD etc. deals with the societal repression of deep and often agonizing emotions -- some of which may be willingly accepted for one reason or another -- the appropriate expression of which (one that promotes a healing, release and a positive resolve) is often discouraged and many times denied. Emotionally the song contemplates several abstract perspectives drawing from personal expression as well as from the film (End Of Days) and its metaphors. The appropriate expression and vehicle for such emotions and concepts is not something taken for granted.

Musically the song was primarily written by Paul Huge over two years ago, with Dizzy Reed writing the musical hook of the chorus. Former member Duff McKagan as well as former employee Matt Sorum failed to see its potential and showed no interest in exploring, let alone recording the piece. When the demos were played for the new band, Josh, Tommy and Robin were as they say 'all over it.'

Once the opportunity was presented, the song was given priority in our recording process. As the verse, performance and lyrics were decided on, for us (that especially includes Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine) the choice became obvious. We were more than pleased Mr. Roswell (the film's music supervisor) agreed! Our thanks to Arnold and all for the consideration -- it is an association in which we have always felt honored.

Paul Huge, Gary Sunshine and Dave Navarro appear on the song as well as Robin Finck. Robin's part was written by Paul and extensively manipulated by our producer, Sean Beaven. Robin was not involved in the writing of the final recording though did participate in the arrangement. All lyrics were written by myself. Additional programming (jack boots, screeching tires, etc.) was by Stuart White.

The fight of good vs. evil, positive vs. negative, man against a seemingly undefeatable, undeterrable, unrevealed destiny, along with the personal and universal struggle to attain, maintain and responsibly manage freewill can be and often is frustrating to say the least. In America our country's constitutional right to freedom of expression gives us a better chance to fight for that expression than many in other countries enjoy. It can be a big gig, like kickin' the crap outta the devil!

Power to the people, peace out and blame Canada.


The song would feature a guitar solo from Dave Navarro [MTV, November 8, 1999] who had been drafted in since Robin had left:

Robin's departure was abrupt, sudden, you know, not expected but at the same time, it's turned out to be a good thing. We've been able to push some of the guitar parts a step farther, that had he been here, it's not something that would have been considered, and I wouldn't have been rude enough to attempt to do that. Robin did a great job, but we've been able to up the ante a little bit. Dave came in and did something great on "Oh My God," and we've had a few other people come in, so that was a setback for a while, but then it's turned out to be a good thing.


Robin would comment upon the track which he had had no part in writing and recording:

We recorded a lot of cool songs and potential tracks. I hope [Oh My God] not very typical of them.


Axl would talk about Navarro:

I've always been a fan of Dave Navarro, to the point that when we got signed, I had a Jane's Addiction demo tape [laughs] and was actually trying to convince the record company, "No, no, no, no, I suck. We suck. These guys rock!" And I was trying to get Tom Zutaut, at the time [at Geffen], to sign Jane's Addiction, and he was actually in negotiations to sign them at one point. I was just into Jane's Addiction.

[…]

That's really what finally got the public to find some interest in Guns N' Roses, and there was a lot less [interest] for Jane's Addiction. Where now, I think, we would consider Jane's Addiction one of the great rock and roll bands in the last however many years. They were a great band, they were a bit ahead of their time. I was a very big fan of them, and Dave.

Dave's a great guitar player. It's a different style. It's not like Guns N' Roses. It's not blues-based, and it's not all that Guns N' Roses is, and that was done on purpose. There will be elements of blues-based things on the new Guns record. It's a very diverse record. There's a lot of hip-hop beats, there's straight-ahead rock. But if someone says, "Hip-hop beats," what do you mean by that? Well, Radiohead uses beats that are similar to hip-hop beats. There's actual, "official" hip-hop beats and then there's "Radiohead-style" hip-hop beats, there's rock beats. Like I say, "Oh My God" has a disco beat in it. I read a review where somebody caught that. That made me laugh.


And Navarro would talk about the project:

There's no story. We didn't hook up at, like, The Rainbow and said, 'Hey, let's get together and do a song.' They just called me up, and I went down to the studio. I spent about an hour and a half there. I played a guitar solo, and that's it.

It was an existing track. I played a guitar solo on it. There really wasn't much direction to give me. I think that that's why they called me, because they figured they wouldn't have to give me any direction.

The truth is, I wish there was an interesting story, but it was honestly like just doing a session. Axl and I had been trying to play for years, and it just never worked out for one reason or another. He just called me and it happened to be a good time, so it worked out. But I just kinda went down there and I spent maybe an hour and a half in the studio, played some stuff, and went home.


The song would represent a break with the classical sound of Guns N' Roses, and Axl would describe how it came about:

Basically, [I'm] listening to everything that's out there as far as music goes. That was a big difference between myself and Slash and Duff, is that I didn't hate everything new that came out. I really liked the Seattle movement. I like White Zombie. I like Nine Inch Nails, and I like hip-hop. I don't hate everything. I don't think everybody should be worshiping me 'cause I was around before them.

So once it was really understood by me that I'm really not going to be able to make the right old-style Guns N' Roses record, and if I try to take into consideration what Guns did on "Appetite," which was to kind of be a melting pot of a lot things that were going on, plus use past influences, I could make the right record if I used my influences from what I've been listening to that everybody else is listening to out there. So in that sense, I think it is like old Guns N' Roses as far as, like, the spirit and the attempt to throw all kinds of different styles together. If you get to the second guitar solo in "Oh My God," Paul's doing a very Izzy Stradlin-Aerosmith-type riff in the middle of the song, which is a completely different thing than everything else that's going on in the music, but yet it blends. There's a disco drum beat in the post-chorus, in the heaviest section of the song. We blended a lot of things.


Duff would later comment on Axl's statement that he and Slash didn't appreciate new music:

I want to say something against that MTV interview. He said the he likes the Seattle sound, but Slash and me hated the new music that comes out. It's stupid, but let me defend myself. I'm the one who brought ICE-T or Killing Joke etc. in the band and listened to other kind of music. I'm not a country boy from Indiana. I'm from Seattle!
Burrn! Magazine, December 1999; translated from Japanese


Slash would later comment on the song:

I’m not gonna pass judgement. […] Listen, listen. If that’s what [Axl] wanted to do and that’s why – the development of that is what made me quit. […] Whatever it is, it’s not what I was –

Yeah, I heard it when I went to see the movie End Of Days. And I don’t have any real opinion about it. […] And when I heard Oh My God, it convinced me that my departure had been a wise decision and that Axl and I were definitely no longer on the same wavelength musically.
Hard Rock (France), October 2000; translated from French


Axl would also mention that for 'Oh My God' as with other songs they were working on, Axl would write the lyrics after the music was finished:

I write the vocals last, because I wanted to invent the music first and push the music to the level that I had to compete against it. That's kind of tough. It's like you got to go in against these new guys who kicked ass. You finally got the song musically where you wanted to, and then you have to figure out how to go in and kick its ass and be one person competing against this wall of sound.

Why I chose to do it that way is that, you know, I can sit and write poetry 'til hell freezes over, and getting attached to any particular set of words... I felt that I would write to those words in a dated fashion, and we really wouldn't get the best music. "Oh My God" is a perfect example. When we finally got "Oh My God" where it needed to be, then I got the right words to it. With "Appetite," I wrote a lot of the words first, but in, like, "Oh My God," I wrote the words second, but the music was written like "Appetite." We kept developing it until it we got it right. [With] "Appetite," everything had been worked on, and worked on, and worked on. That was not the case with "Use Your Illusion."


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